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Picks and Pans Review: Stealing Sinatra

updated 05/03/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/03/2004 01:00AM

Showtime (Sun., April 25, 8 p.m. ET)

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Kidnapping really shouldn't be treated lightly, but you have to laugh at the criminal ineptitude on display in this enjoyable account of the 1963 abduction of Frank Sinatra Jr.

Barry Keenan (David Arquette), a failed salesman who sees celebrity-snatching as a business venture, hatches the plot but can't pull it off alone. So the mastermind recruits a couple of ambivalent confederates: his mother's boozing boyfriend, John Irwin (William H. Macy), and Joe Amsler (Ryan Browning), an old classmate with a dead-end job.

As the team bungles the caper at every turn, Arquette makes Keenan's desperation consistently funny but a little sad, and Macy gives his weak character a touch of dignity to go with his hypocritical moralizing.

Thomas Ian Nicholas seems too wide-eyed as young Sinatra, but the victim's naïveté mixes amusingly with his captors' stupidity. This is a "major kidnapping," Keenan declares. "Of me?" Frank Jr. asks.

COMEDY

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