Bland Larceny (2021)

Bland Larceny

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Sasha and Tom have decided that they’re going to rob Otto, a wealthy German social media influencer. Sasha’s already done her part by seducing Otto and getting an invitation into the house, so now it’s Tom’s turn to sneak into Otto’s home while she’s distracting him. The problem? Turns out Tom is a terrible thief. It’s four in the afternoon and he’s wearing all black, he’s making a ton of noise, and it turns out he gets easily distracted. Clearly this man needs to find a new gig. Thankfully he seems to be good at hiding, because he manages to disappear just before Otto enters a room. But what’s this? Turns out Otto is a sleazebag himself, as Tom catches him slipping a drug into a drink he plans to give to Sasha. So now Tom has to surreptitiously save his partner without either of them getting caught. For someone who sucks as much at subtlety as Tom, that may be a tall order.

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Every once and a while I get tired of the horror and thriller and action films, and decide to switch it up a bit. Thus, here is Bland Larceny, a 9-minute, American comedic short film directed by Brandyn T. Williams. Despite enjoying comedy films I don’t tend to watch too many of them nowadays, as I’ve noticed a recent trend in film for spending an absurd amount of time mistaking embarrassing moments for comedic ones, and that’s just not really my jam. I like a little variety in my humor beyond just strings of fart jokes, and thankfully Williams seems to share my appreciation for variation. But don’t get me wrong, though. The man still clearly appreciates a good poop joke (don’t we all), I’m just saying I’m thankful he didn’t make it his entire film.

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It’s still in there though, in case you were wondering.

So instead of a successive string of toilet humor, the film is more of an amalgamation of other comic elements. Yes, there is a toilet joke in there, but the film is really more of a string of slapstick routines, sight gags, reaction shots, and just the simple joy of watching Tom wallow in his failure and incompetence. Tom, by the way, is actually played by director Brandyn T. Williams himself, who is basically pulling quadruple film duty as the movie’s writer, director, actor, and editor. Luckily this isn’t his first comedic short, because at this point he seems to have gotten all the necessary elements ironed out, and the film’s pacing is excellent and all the comedy is timed perfectly. And as every good comedian knows, timing is everything, so kudos to Mr. Williams for doing such a good job.

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One of the more endearing things about the movie is how likable everyone in it is, despite the fact that all the characters are assholes. Sasha and Tom are thieves trying to rip-off a foreigner who they think is going to be easy pickings, and Otto ends up being a date rapist (or at the very least an attempted date rapist). Yet all of them are so ridiculously incompetent that they’re almost endearing. It’s really amazing. Even when Tom is trying to bash Otto’s head in with a golf club, his attempt at battery comes across as sweet, not only because he’s trying to protect his partner, but also because he’s just so bad at it. It’s an absolute treat to watch him fail, because not only do we get to see the humorous outcome, but we also get to see Sasha’s reactions to his abject failure, and you can pretty much tell from each successive look on her face that she’s constantly wondering how the hell she got partnered up with someone so ridiculously stupid.

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Honestly, I’d like to know the answer to that myself.

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Her reactions are priceless, though.

I didn’t know what to expect going into Bland Larceny, but the movie left me pleasantly surprised and delighted. The characters are charming despite them all being criminals. The story is short, but well-paced, complete and to the point. But most importantly, the movie is actually funny. The timing is spot-on and the reaction shots are priceless. The movie may be short, but I found it highly entertaining and wished it was a bit longer. If you like comedy and you have a few minutes to spare, then feel free to give this one a shot.

Bland Larceny is currently available on Amazon Prime.

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Michi

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