Steal Big, Steal Little

on September 29, 1995 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
   Screened at Toronto. Andy Garcia ("Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead") here has a dual role as twin Mexican brothers, one dashing and dastardly, the other plain and decent. The bad bro, Robby, has anglicized his name and forgotten his Hispanic roots; the good-hearted Ruben is proud of his ethnicity and even employs illegal immigrants on his ranch to help them and their families. Robby covets that property and embarks on a scheme to wrest it from Ruben, but Ruben and his many friends stand firm, with the result a Capraesque ending that outdoes Frank Capra himself.
   "Steal Big, Steal Little" is really that simplistic; there are no shadings of character between the twins, no unusual plot twists and little if any imagination in the story. Director/co-writer Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive") is doubtless harkening back to the quality films of yesteryear, but those movies were traditionally more literate and quirky. If not for Alan Arkin's authentic turn as a gruff cop who owes money to loansharks and is also Ruben's business partner, "Steal Big, Steal Little" wouldn't have edge at all.    Starring Andy Garcia, Alan Arkin and Rachel Ticotin. Directed by Andrew Davis. Written by Andrew Davis, Lee Blessing, Jeanne Blake and Terry Kahn. Produced by Andrew Davis and Fred Caruso. A Savoy release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for a scene of marijuana use. Running time: 130 min.
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