(Michael Hoffman, 2012)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: A charming, breezy little comedy with a silly script from the Coen brothers and fun performances, 'Gambit' is nevertheless a forgettable romp.
With a script by the Coen brothers (Oscar winners for 'Fargo' among many others) and a leading comedy role from Colin Firth right after winning the Oscar for 'The King's Speech', as well as larger-than-life support from Alan Rickman, 'Gambit' should really have been a classic. But it's a little underwhelming to say the least.
Director Michael Hoffman struggles to find the proper tone to suit the numerous talents he has at his disposal in this mismatched art heist farce. It stars Firth as a prim and proper, humourless art expert looking to bring down his lurid boss (a delicious Alan Rickman in full 'Robin Hood' mode). He plans to sting him with a fake Monet and needs a feisty Texas rodeo queen (Cameron Diaz) and a veteran art faker (Tom Courtenay) to really seal the deal.
What it needed was a director with comedic chops to helm the boat amid the tidal waves of silly dialogue and outlandish situations. It needed a Blake Edwards to bring a certain 'Pink Panther' charm.
Firth is spot on, with Rickman and Courtenay adding fun but Diaz comes off as annoying while an overboard Stanley Tucci distracts from the whole piece.
And yet, despite its problems and cliches (how many comedies do we need with a Englishman losing his trousers in a hotel and being mistaken for a lothario?), 'Gambit' is a lot of fun with some real zingers in the script department. It isn't going to reinvent the wheel, but it keeps it turning nicely for 90 minutes without outstaying its welcome.
Check out the theatrical trailer for 'Gambit' HERE at Cinemas Online.
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