Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
A case of mistaken identity forces a pair of lounge singers to pose as safecrackers in this farce. Sam (Sam Rockwell) and Eddie (Steve Zahn) are hapless musicians; Frank (Mark Ruffalo) and Mitchell (Josh Pais) are expert safecrackers. But when local Jewish gangster Big Fat Bernie Gayle (Michael Lerner) dispatches his henchman, Veal Chop (Paul Giamatti), to trick the safecrackers into service, the hapless Veal Chop can't tell the difference. In the end, Sam and Eddie are forced to go along with Veal Chop's mistake and perform three separate robberies for the imposing Big Fat Bernie. During their very first mission -- to rob the safe of local fence Good Stuff Leo (Harvey Fierstein) -- they're apprehended by Hannah (Christina Kirk), Leo's affable, deadpan daughter. Hannah lets the guys go, but sparks fly between her and Sam. It just so happens, however, that real safecracker Frank is her ex-boyfriend, and that she's sworn off dating criminals for life. The coincidences, double crosses, and unlikely romance culminate in the bar mitzvah of Bernie's son, Little Big Fat Bernie (Michael Schmidt), whose present is the Stanley Cup -- the actual hockey trophy -- which was stolen from Good Stuff Leo by the reluctant Sam and Eddie. Shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, Safe Men marked the writing and directing debut of future Meet the Parents and Zoolander scribe John Hamburg. The film also gave a pre-stardom Mark Ruffalo one of his first featured roles. Sam Rockwell and Josh Pais previously appeared together in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie.
gangster, mistaken-identity, robbery, safecracker, singer