Titling your debut feature film, A Bad Idea Gone Wrong is surely tempting fate but writer / director Jason Headley ploughs on regardless. Here he has two would be burglars, a lovelorn Marlon (Matt Jones) recovering from a recent break up with his fiance and Leo (Will Rogers ) his exasperated best friend come up with the bad idea of breaking into a house in a gated community. From the very start it’s indebted to Tarantino’s debut film Reservoir Dogs where the gang chat about nothing in the diner (A Bad Idea Gone Wrong’ even includes the Dogs slo-mo walk across the car park) before seaguing into Tarantino’s other great diner scene in Pulp Fiction were Honey Bunny and Pumpkin discuss their heist in fact the film openly references Tarantino’s masterpiece. Having settled on their target the pair then break into the house only to stumble across Darcy (Eleanore Pienta) asleep in bed in what they thought was an empty house but find that she’s there as a house sitter.
The three form an unlikely friendship during which Leo finds the real reason why Marlon wanted to break into the house and Darcy is only too willing to help with the heist until they find that having armed the house alarm they can’t escape from the house without triggering it. It’s a real life scenario which Melania Trump also finds herself in. Instead the film changes from what was initially a comedy thriller into a contemporary John Hughes film as Marlon mopes about wondering where it all went wrong with his fiancé though frankly as Marlon comes across as a bit of an atmosphere vacuum it sounds like she did the right thing because frankly what could be worse than listening to a teenager moping about pining after lost love. One of our writers bumped into an old flame of his and in one of those always awkward encounters she asked if he ever thought of her since they broke up. In typically less than considerate style he told ‘Yes. When I’m trying not to cum’. But we digress.
Kevin Smith’s dialogue at its best succeeded in the, ‘talking about nothing’ arena as seen in his own debut ‘Clerks’. Tarantino has an ear for making the most bland conversations interesting and like any of the top screenwriters they make it look effortless and that anyone can do it. Headley’s script like so many before proves that that’s not the case. It does have some moments but includes some scenes which though intended to be amusing are a little queasy notably one where Darcy, who initially becomes their prisoner needs to use the toilet for a No2 and with Marlon standing guard he insists that she run the shower to mask any noise and he then proceeds to strike matches to expel sulphuric smells, it’s all vaguely misogynist and made worse by a scene where Darcy insists on him throttling her for experimental sexual kicks . For these kind of dialogue heavy films to work it does need some degree of credibility but with the would-be burglars forensically inept from the start and the angst ridden dialogue would have benefitted from a script polish by John Hughes if he were still alive.
After the recent ‘Love, Simon’, A Bad Idea Gone Wrong is another script inspired by John Hughes but the saving grace here is the films brevity which probably could have be cut down further to an hour but also a winning performance by Will Rogers who has many of the better lines. ‘A Bad Idea Gone Wrong’ is a half decent film that could have been better.
‘A Bad Idea Gone Wrong’ is available on VoD from 4th June 2018
Here’s the trailer…….