There’s just something about gangsters and Hollywood: they like it; it likes them. Gangster movies have been inbreeding this love for generations, producing one golden child—a Chinatown, Goodfellas, Untouchables, or L.A. Confidential—for every litter of cross-eyed duds. The best that can be said for Gangster Squad is that it secures, for now, the position of alpha dud, the fedora-capped king of clichés. It’s less a gangster movie than a gangster mutation with tommy-gun Tourette’s.
“But we ain’t doing civil rights here,” protests Aibileen, an African-American maid in Tate Taylor’s The Help, based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name by Kathryn Stockett.
The “here” Aibileen refers to is the project initiated by “Skeeter”, a white lady (played by Emma Stone), to tell the stories of the domestic help from the maids’ perspective and publish them in book form.(1)