Starring: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman viewed on 6/3/13 – The Burford Review
You may like this if you liked: Wild Target (Jonathan Lynn, 2009), Duplicity (Tony Gilroy, 2009), Fun with Dick and Jane (Dean Parisot, 2005)
Harry Dean (Firth) is an art curator who works for extremely an abusive and even wealthier art obsessed boss (Rickman). Having had enough of being treated like this, Dean hatches an ‘ingenious’ plan to con his boss out of millions of pounds by getting him to buy a fake Monet painting, which as curator, Dean will insist is genuine. However, the plan requires the help of a Texas rodeo girl (Diaz) due to some outrageous family connection she has to a lost Monet painting involving a distant relative who fought in World War II. Of course, so the film is not 10 minutes long a whole plethora of things go wrong resulting into many hilarious situations. Do you detect sarcasm? Well, read on and find out.
The combination of Firth playing a middle class scoundrel, Alan Rickman being very angry and insulting everyone and a Coen brothers script was a very promising premise. Unfortunately that is where it ends. Apparently this Coen’s script is 10 years old, well maybe they should have thought about a redraft in that time. Maybe if this film did not contain such potentially promising elements it would not feel like such a disappointment, but there is no escaping the fact that it is.
Is it truly awful? Of course not, there have been far worse films over the last 12 months for various reasons. There are occasionally funny moments and it is a watchable film to have on. At 90 minutes it just about manages not to outstay its welcome, and at 12A is a light hearted enough romp for the whole family to sit there and watch, though probably while having conversations amongst each other.
There are occasional mildly amusing individual moments, though these tend to be more at it than with it. The fact the humour tends to be slapstick based such as Firth walking around a hotel in his pants or constantly getting punched, or Firth just saying mild swear words in a posh English accent means that the jokes start to get very thin very fast. Of course Rickman is always very entertaining when he is angry and insulting people (though not when he is naked). Diaz herself has a good go, but is nothing memorable, while Firth is most definitely on auto pilot. Again, it is impossible to get away from the feeling of wasted potential as the cast, screenwriters and even the director do not seem to care, so ultimately why should we?
Basically, Gambit is a film that is not in my opinion as horrific a failure as some say, and light hearted enough to make it watchable and entertaining at the time. However, your only memory of this as soon as it finishes will be a naked Alan Rickman!