THE MAKERS of Henry's Crime would have you believe that a high-stakes heist at a Buffalo bank is much less interesting than the crusty production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard being staged at the theater next door. So the heist, plotted by Henry (Keanu Reeves) and his jailbird buddy Max (James Caan), gets put on the film's back burner while we watch Julie (Vera Farmiga) and her director, Millodragovic (Peter Stormare), rehearse their big-budget production at what looks like the ritziest theater in town. Who knew Buffalo had such a thriving theater scene?
Henry and Max meet in prison after Henry does time for a bank robbery he didn't commit. Upon his release, Henry decides to rob the bank for real. Henry and Max discover a Prohibition-era tunnel connecting the theater and the bank, and the movie putters along genially; Caan is great, Farmiga is good, and you sort of forget that Keanu is in the movie at all. Henry's Crime doesn't become actively bad until the play's opening night, in which the actors break character onstage to profess their true feelings toward each other. But even after they've abandoned the play, Henry's Crime still has too little heist, and far too much Chekhov.