review for Breaking In on AllMovie

Breaking In (1989)
by Nick Sambides, Jr. review

Ernest Mullins (Burt Reynolds) is a safe cracker, and he has his rules: No negative thinking on the job. Check whether the safe is locked before you try to crack it (lots of people never lock them). Don't think about the people you steal from. Always launder your money at the local OTB. Avoid throwing around the money you steal, and always, always be moderate with the nitroglycerine. Thanks to a wry, witty script by co-screenwriter John Sayles and equally low-key direction by co-screenwriter Bill Forsyth (Local Hero, Gregory's Girl), Reynolds does some of his best work in this amiable comedy. Reynolds puts a lot of technique into the role, wearing thick glasses, a paunch, a gray toupee, and affecting a noticeable limp, but never lets any of it interfere with his character's ease. It's a starring role that Reynolds puts himself into, but with modesty, and with none of the torpor that characterizes so much of his work. He shines, too -- one wonders why a man so talented has frittered so much of that talent away in so many forgettable roles. Like Forsyth, whose comedies are so understated they almost qualify as character studies, Reynolds and co-star Casey Siemaszko never reach for the laughs. Breaking In lacks the fairy tale elements that characterize what is arguably his best movie, Local Hero, nor is as sharply observed as Gregory's Girl, but it has its mellow satisfactions.