Saturday, June 22, 2013

GAMBIT: Fun, Neat, Delightful Little Comedy Caper

June 22, 2013

I had no idea what "Gambit" would be about when I watched. It was the stellar cast of Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman that convinced me to try this low-key film release. And I am sure glad I did.

"Gambit" is a funny little comedy about art curator Harry Deane (Firth) hatching a caper to sell a forgery of a Monet painting to his own haughty boss (Rickman). Deane picks an American rodeo champion, PJ Puznowski (Diaz) as accomplice, or does she have other plans up her sleeve?

The very British comedy had been written by the very American Ethan and Joel Coen, with very wry and witty results. Surely, there is no out-of- the-box, off-the-wall "Fargo" or "Raising Arizona" Coens in this film. This is simple and straightforward, old-fashioned and delightful comedy. I do wonder why they chose not to direct it themselves.  The directorial credit goes to Michael Hoffman, who directed "One Fine Day" and "The Last Station."

Colin Firth takes a rare respite from his serious period films with this film where his sad-sack character gets into the most unfortunate and ridiculous of circumstances. His scenes on the ledge outside the windows of the Savoy Hotel, were laugh-out-loud hilarious.  That it was Colin Firth we see up there, and not Rowan Atkinson, is something special.

Alan Rickman plays a very rich, formal and ruthless CEO here, but we get to see him in a couple of the most embarrassing scenes in the film. We will forget that he was Harry Potter's Prof. Snape as we watch this. 

Cameron Diaz again plays a pretty, perky girl, seemingly lacking brain matter (but not).  This is a character she can play with a blindfold, much like Natalie in "Charlie's Angels."  However, she is nonetheless still fun to watch as PJ. 

Overall, this is one very entertaining film.  It is fun. It is neat. That it was distinguished British actor Tom Courtenay playing the very talented art forger Major, Deane's partner-in-crime, is a bonus. I enjoyed "Gambit" a lot, and I think you will too. 6/10

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