From the Chicago Reader (February 23, 1996). — J.R.
A fresh, character-driven, often funny, and unfashionably upbeat (as well as offbeat) first feature by Wes Anderson, this film — written by one of the lead actors (Owen C. Wilson) in collaboration with Anderson — focuses on three young and immature male friends and aspiring thieves in Texas. Two of Wilson’s brothers, Luke and Andrew, also act in the film, the former playing another of the leads; the third friend is played by Robert Musgrave, and Like Water for Chocolate‘s Lumi Cavazos and Hollywood veteran James Caan also play significant roles. The film has all the benefits that come from a relaxed cast largely consisting of friends, and the presence of such producers/godparents as Polly Platt, James L. Brooks, and L.M. Kit Carson probably helps as well. This isn’t a movie that beats you over the head, which in industry terms may make it a hard sell, but I found its Kerouac-like goofiness both charming and sustaining. Pipers Alley, Evanston. — Jonathan Rosenbaum