Directed by Barry Levinson, starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Troy Garity and Bobby Slayton.

After bursting out of prison in a surprisingly smooth jailbreak, Joe Blake (Willis) and Terry Collins (Thornton) decide to go back to doing what they do best: robbing banks. Combining their potent mixture of brawn and brains (no need to clarify who plays which), the duo draw up a plan to work their away across the country before creating a new life in Mexico. Joe is happy enough with a series of old-fashioned raids, but Terry suggests an ostensibly easier modus operandi: visiting the bank manager's house the night before, holding all present hostage and then robbing the bank the next morning before it opens.

Things go smoothly enough until, after one particular robbery, Terry is run over by bored housewife Kate (Blanchett). Blackmailed by the latter into taking her along to inject some adventure into her life, the raiders continue on their stealing spree, with the public becoming increasingly charmed by the duo the media have dubbed 'the sleepover bandits'.

As the duo, sorry trio, continue with their raids, romance inevitably enters the fray when Joe's masculine charm works its magic on the impressionable Kate. Well, actually, it's not so much his macho allure that sucks Kate in, but rather a shared admiration for - wait for it - Bonnie Tyler. Terry, meanwhile, is sceptical ("She's an iceberg in search of the Titanic") but things soon change when he too plunders a path to Kate's heart.

Now, in deference to Kate, the woman is not a slapper – it's just that she finds Joe's strapping sexuality and Terry's sensitive intellect irresistible. Together they make the perfect man, so why choose? It's this madcap ménage a trois that brings 'Bandits' into ill-advised territory. Instead of keeping the focus on the often-humorous robberies, director Levinson slows the pace to concentrate on the dynamic of the unlikely trio. The only addition this gives the film is an unwanted extra half-hour.

As the eponymous bandits, tough-guy Willis, with his usual array of slanted smirks and horrendous hairpieces, is easily outshone by the versatile Thornton. The always-excellent Blanchett shows a subtle flair for comedy, but an actress of her capability was never going to be stretched here. Although it's far too long, if you can get over the absurdity of the plot, 'Bandits' is typically glossy, mildly amusing fare.

Tom Grealis