Gambit


Viewed – 23 June 2013  DVD

An interesting one, this… A remake of a 1966 comedy that starred Michael Caine and Shirley Maclaine, boasts a screenplay by none other than Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit, Fargo, The Big Lebowski) and this time stars everyone’s favorite Englishman, Colin Firth.  Firth plays Harry Deane, an art curator who is planning on double-crossing his mean spirited boss (Alan Rickman) by conning him into buying a forgery of a Monet painting.  Roped into Harry’s nefarious scheme is Texan cowgirl PJ (Cameron Diaz).

gambit

I am not familiar with the original movie, but this was a fast, funny and sharp caper comedy in the style of 50s / 60s British movies like The Italian Job.  Firth is perfectly cast despite being obviously stereotyped, and Rickman is clearly having a ball as his pantomime villain boss.  Less effective is Diaz, seemingly wasted as a cartoon-like cowgirl with a grating Texan accent and zero depth.  The script, showcasing the Coen’s brand of oddball characters and snappy dialogue zipped by at a good pace though, with all three leads proving fun.  For this kind of material, over familiarity reared it’s head from time to time and for a Coen’s script, the comedy whilst effective, seemed a touch too farcical for such talents.

The real problem here though, is that both as a remake and as a British comedy (whoever may have written it) it just offered too few surprises, and I would have liked something a little more complex and clever.  Yet still see it if you like the cast and want an undemanding, but enjoyable evening’s viewing – just don’t go expecting anything fresh, new or particularly imaginative.

Verdict:  3 /5

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