After the dark futures in AI: Artificial Intelligence
and Minority Report
, director Steven Spielberg succumbs to his dormant sweet tooth with this breezy, marshmallow-like retro-caper inspired by the real life of Frank W. Abagnale Jr. The film bounces between 1963 and 1969. Teen Abagnale (played credibly by 27-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio) becomes one of the nation’s most celebrated criminals by impersonating an airline co-pilot, a doctor and an attorney; scoring with women from Miami to Hollywood; and passing millions of dollars in counterfeit checks. Spielberg and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour 2
) blend social satire, father-son relationships, family crisis, scams and cat-and-mouse pursuit into a fun but disposable confection that wears thin during its 140-minute run time. The story is touching, comic, nostalgic, suspenseful and stranger than fiction, but it feels more stuck in time than tapped into its own soul.