Andy Garcia fans get twice as much for the ticket price with "Steal Big, Steal Little." Garcia plays twins, one an easygoing, generous man of the people and the other a greedy, vindictive criminal who exploits everyone around him.
But the film is supremely disappointing, especially as the latest from director Andrew Davis, who wowed us with the back-to-back thrillers "Under Siege" and "The Fugitive."
With "Steal Big, Steal Little" he appears to have bitten off more than he can chew, with a complicated, over-plotted and ultimately unwieldy effort (Davis also co-wrote and co-produced).
Garcia and his fellow cast-members can be quite engaging, however, and their charm occasionally does wonders with specific set-pieces. Too bad it's not enough to save the film.
Garcia spends most of his on-screen time as Ruben Martinez, a naive farmer who inherits multiple millions from his adopted mother, but whose nasty brother Robert (who has Americanized his name as "Martin") plots to take it away.
Ruben would be happy to split the inheritance, as long as he can still renovate his Santa Barbara, Calif., ranch for his family and friends to farm, but Robert is, of course, too greedy to allow that.
Told in flashbacks and flashbacks in flashbacks several times over the story isn't really all that hard to follow, but its myriad subplots and multiplicity of characters are all so superficially drawn that despite the film's length (nearly 21/2 hours) we never get to know any of them very well or feel any real empathy for their plight.
Garcia is obviously having fun, and the character of Ruben is the quintessential movie dreamer. But most of the film is cluttered and muddled, and the tone is confused, as if someone tried to combine "The Milagro Bean-field War" with "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" an uncomfortable mix, to say the least.
Alan Arkin has some funny moments as a Chicago car dealer and former policeman who becomes a partner with Ruben, and Rachel Ticotin continues to be an underappreciated and underused talent, here playing Ruben's wife. Joe Pantoliano also has his moments as Ruben's lawyer, who betrays Ruben but then goes to great extremes to redeem himself.
But none of the film's broadly played elements blend together and in the end it feels like the dinner guest who at first seems like a breath of fresh air but after awhile feels more like an unwelcome windbag.
"Steal Big, Steal Little" is rated PG-13 for some violence, profanity, vulgarity and marijuana smoking, as well as some nude art work in the background but it feels like more like PG territory.