February 21, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

Thin Ice, a divertingly scuzzy little Midwest noir, is in the genre of Fargo and A Simple Plan, except that its banal Everyman hero — Greg Kinnear at his weaselly best — is a few notches further down on the scale of loserdom. He’s a Wisconsin insurance salesman who fancies himself a con artist and attempts to screw a retired old farmer (Alan Arkin) out of a beat-up violin that may be worth $25,000. Throw in a nagging divorce settlement, an unplanned murder, and Billy Crudup — hilarious! — as a raging security man, and Jill Sprecher’s film enjoyably fuses cleverness and sheer desperation. B+

Thin Ice

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Thin Ice

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