Sunday, February 12, 2017

Now on Amazon Prime: Sneaky Pete (2017)

Sneaky Pete (2017) - Created by Bryan Cranston, David Shore; Starring Giovanni Ribisi, Marin Ireland, Bryan Cranston, Shane McRae, Margo Martindale, Libe Barer, Michael Drayer, Peter Gerety, Jacob Pitts, Karolina Wydra, Virginia Kull, Alison Wright.

By Kenny Howell

Bryan Cranston brings the series of a conman that gets released from prison and pretends to be his former cellmate to score a big loot.

It is your typical conman story where you now that you don't exactly know what is going on because the rug will be pulled out from under you at any time. Giovanni Ribisi (Selma) plays the titular Pete, whose real name is Marius Josipovic. While in prison, he listened to endless stories of his cellmate Pete, which told about his younger years spent at his grandmother Audrey's house. She runs a bail bonds business, and Marius decides that upon getting out, he will head to grandma's house to pretend to be Pete because of the collateral that she has on hand. Pete hadn't been seen around there for 20 years because of a wayward mother, so grandma, played by Margo Martindale (The Americans) will have no idea if it is him or not.

"Pete" shows up, and instantly slides into Pete's life. His grandpa Otto (Pete Gerrety) recently had a stroke, but runs the business with Audrey, along with their other granddaughter Julia, played by Marin Ireland (Hell or High Water). She has a kid of her own, and an ex-husband to deal with on top of not really getting along with Audrey. Marius uses all his tools, including calling on an old flame (Virginia Kull) to help his con, trying to find the best time to get the money from the safe that Audrey keeps on lockdown, even to most of her family. He needs it to pay off a gangster named Vince, played by Cranston (All the Way), who has his brother held hostage until his debt is paid up.

Sneaky Pete for the most part stays on top of things and keeps the pace cracking, mostly because of the excellent cast led by Ribisi, and also includes great turns by Cranston (of course), Martindale (of course) and Ireland. There are cracks though, as a parole officer played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner is a threat to Marius early on, but disappears after a few episodes never really to be spoke of again. And there is also the fact that since this is a conman movie, there is a bigger con at play that you don't know about. Every conman movie since The Sting has done that, and it does feel a bit tired. However, because of the great performances, witty writing and overall pace, Sneaky Pete is one of Amazon's more promising properties.

The first season of Sneaky Pete is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Rating: ***

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