Plot: Nick Barrow (Vince Vaughn) is the middle man in the world of heists, as he buys inside information, then formulates a master plan, which he then sells to a crew that will carry out the actual crime. But his latest heist didn’t go as planned, as the crew was shot down and now Nick is in serious trouble. The crew’s associates want him dead, as does the band of corrupt police officers who originated the heist, as part of a plan to get rid of incriminating evidence. He has to go into hiding until he can sort out the situation, but as he fears his estranged daughter Cate (Hailee Steinfeld) will be targeted, he has to bring her along as well. But she is not pleased that her distant father has shown up out of the blue, forcing her to leave her life and hide in a motel. As both sides close in on Nick, he has to keep a low profile and work toward some kind of solution, all while balancing his precarious relationship with his daughter. If he can survive the crooked cops and crime bosses, can he manage to survive his daughter’s wrath?
Entertainment Value: I have to admit, I was unable to focus on much as I viewed this movie, as Vince Vaughn’s hair is such a glorious trash fire. His hair is atrocious and becomes the focus of the entire movie, as it changes scene to scene, sometimes even moment to moment. The movie tries to defuse this early on, but his hair is such an attention magnet, like a horrific car accident, you can’t help but be fixated on how abysmal it is. But Term Life is about more than Vaughn’s hilarious coiffure, so I will do my best to offer an overall evaluation. The movie is technically sound, directed by Ralphie from A Christmas Story, but the story often feels more campy than tense, mostly due to the performances. Vaughn’s hair is Oscar level, but Bill Paxton hams it up in epic style, chewing up scenes left and right. Jon Favreau is also here in a brief role, while UFC veteran Cain Velasquez also shows up. I do think the movie is solid, but it just never gets any real sense of stakes, Vaughn doesn’t seem worried at any point, so the tension just sort of drains out. But Term Life is a fun watch, as it is brisk and has some goofy, but fun performances involved. In truth however, this was always going to be remembered for Vaughn’s hair, which steals every scene.
No nakedness. The movie has a brisk pace and no real romance threads, so the lack of sex or sleaze is no surprise. The movie has some chases and shoot outs, so some blood is present, but not much. Although some of the gun shots do make a nice mess, which is always fun. The more action driven scenes are well handled and have a mean spirit to them, which I appreciated. Paxton as such a cold, heartless corrupt cop was a lot of fun to watch. So it does have a good amount of violence, but it is mostly the usual non graphic, but drippy bloodshed. The dialogue is supposed to be serious, but comes off like no one takes the script seriously. Except maybe Paxton, who takes it too seriously, which is just as fun. So tense scenes don’t feel tense, but more like friends who happened to be trying to kill each other. This is an odd dynamic, but it adds to the movie’s appeal, since it such an unusual vibe. So I credit the performances more than the lines, but there’s some fun exchanges here. On the craziness side, this is a mostly straight forward thriller, but the goofy performances earn a point. The real star of Term Life is Vaughn’s ever shifting hair however, which deserves a point of its own.
Overall Insanity: 2/10