Rob the Mob

Aw, what a cute little mob movie. Could this be the reaction that the makers of Rob the Mob were going for? With a title like that, and the fact-based premise of a young couple knocking over unarmed mafia social clubs and stumbling upon some information that’s of special interest to the Feds, how could it be otherwise? The genre has gotten so crowded that it’s harder than ever to achieve just the right mix of danger and humor. Here, writer Jonathan Fernandez and director Raymond De Felitta eventually surrender to light tragedy: The young lovers, played by Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda, come to let themselves be known as Bonnie and Clyde, apparently unconcerned about what became of Bonnie and Clyde. Pitt’s in his element here, evoking both his own history as a lost lamb among the wolves in Boardwalk Empire, and the poignant tough-guy strivers previously etched into the big screen by the young Robert De Niro. Arianda is warm and sharp and a paragon of cliché avoidance. There’s also Ray Romano as a chummy tabloid newspaper columnist, Burt Young as a doddering old sympathy magnet, and Andy Garcia as perhaps the cuddliest goombah kingpin ever, dispensing charitable orders from his kitchen while also teaching his grandson how to make the perfect “rice bawls.” Cuteness isn’t a crime, is it?