I’m a fan of Jason Sudeikis so I signed up for a spin through Driven, his semi-serious look at how a con man turned up as an informant for the government while twisting John DeLorean (creator of that car) all about. It’s funny, sad, and meandering, with a particularly strong reminder that greed rarely gets us what we’re greedy for in the long run.
Jim Hoffman (Sudeikis) runs drugs to take his kids on vacation, and wears his wife (Judy Greer) out with promises of a better outcome and going straight. But when he ends up on the hook to Corey Stoll’s FBI Special Agent Benedict Tisa, he ends up setting up a deal that pairs the guy who designed the Back to the Future car, Lee Pace’s DeLorean, with Michael Cuditz’s gangster/crook/funds extraordinaire Morgan Hetrick. It’s amusing watching Sudeikis swing from con to con, and try so desperately to not be an ADHD criminal, but in the end, is this a sting or a set-up?
While the makers of the film, director Nick Hamm and screenwriter Colin Bateman (who worked together on an Irish film called The Journey), seem super intrigued by making sure we know it’s a period piece with hair, clothes, cars, and furniture, they seem less clear on where exactly this is supposed to take us. In fact, it seems most clear on the fact that Sudeikis’ ineptitude is a stalled-out wannabe stardom-in-waiting, but what’s the actual point? He wants to be DeLorean’s friend because he likes the proximity to “cool,” but DeLorean is only the object of his sting.
In the end, we can see that greed gets us nowhere, that seeing people as ladder rungs and cutting corners morally slices us spiritually and relationally. We can see that these people end up broken and battered, sometimes guilty and sometimes not, but they do end up miserable. If that’s enough for entertainment, then this is worth the drive. But poor Sudeikis, he deserved better.