You can’t make this stuff up.

This is the kind of documentary that I recommend to people who roll their eyes when I say “documentary.”

This is a whodunit that never really answers all the questions it raises. And that makes it all the more intriguing.

Rita and Jerry Alter were a beautiful couple. They were intelligent, adventurous, and good-looking. World travelers, they enjoyed telling family and friends about their adventures all over the world. Their family loved this vibrant pair.

In a seemingly unrelated incident in 1985, a valuable Willem de Kooning painting is stolen from an Arizona museum when someone cuts the painting out of its frame and takes off with it.

More than 30 years later, the painting turns up again when members of an estate-sale crew find it behind the late couple’s bedroom door.

Why would they take it? And how did two former teachers live the lavish lifestyle Jerry and Rita enjoyed?  

Friends and family discuss their relationships with the Alters, and how shocked they were to find that they might have something to do with a missing artwork.

Museum staff members, law enforcement officers, art experts and more comment on this brazen heist of a painting.

The narrator is Glenn Howerton, who also plays Jerry. Sarah Minnich plays Rita. The two give delightful performances, always with a wink – sometimes literally – and a nod to the audience, as if to say, “You know we’re not the real thing but we’ll give it our all.” And they do.

Director Allison Otto’s film combines adventure, characters you’ll never forget, glimpses into the art world and criminal procedure in a surprising film that’s a real delight.

It will leave you shaking your head … and wondering just how well you really know your relatives and friends.

4 stars

Running time: One hour and 36 minutes.


Streaming on multiple platforms.

Watch the trailer here.