Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ashleigh Murray, Rachel Crow, Sasheer Zamata, David Sullivan, Danielle Nicolet, Tim Blake Nelson, Missi Pyle, Myko Olivier, Arturo Castro, Kinna McInroe
Written by: Shelby Farrell
Directed by: Sydney Freeland
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 100
Date: 03/17/2017

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017)

3 Stars (out of 4)

On the Right Track

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Netflix continues their Sundance spree, snapping up this unusual, amusing little crime film/family story and giving it an exclusive release. In Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017), older sister Deidra (Ashleigh Murray) is the top student in her miserable little high school, and while making money selling essays and test answers to fellow students, she prepares to head off to college with a well-earned scholarship. Unfortunately her mother (Danielle Nicolet) suddenly snaps inside a consumer electronics store, smashes a TV, and goes to prison. Deidra finds herself supporting her younger sister Laney (Rachel Crow) and their action figure-loving younger brother (Lance Gray).

Thanks to an idea from their estranged, dim, lazy, but good-hearted father (David Sullivan), Deidra decides to rob the train that rolls past their ratty backyard, and sell the goods for money. Deidra secretly keeps some of the money for her college fund, while Laney has trouble at school, unexpectedly entered into a beauty pageant against her self-absorbed best friend. Tim Blake Nelson is hilariously mean and petty as a railroad detective, and Missi Pyle is her usual chirpy, funny self as a teacher. Director Sydney Freeland can't help giving this the "indie cutes," but it's certainly refreshing to see a movie about smart women and mixed-race couples that doesn't even need to acknowledge these things. It's a zippy, appealingly off-kilter comedy that offers a pleasant evening's entertainment.

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