Gambit (I) (2012)
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*Disclosure, I am not connected to the film's production or any of the cast, and have no agenda here other than offering an alternative point of view.
The basic plot is already known in advance: that Colin Firth wants to con his evil boss using a beautiful Texan as bait. He travels to meet her accompanied by his friend and co-conman, Major Wingate. After watching her in a rodeo they go to a local bar to make the approach. The Major asks Colin how much is he going to tell her? He answers: "Oh, only enough for her to play her part". And the same is true of the audience. You are only told enough to a) identify with Colin's character and his motivation, and b) follow the plot to come.
We're then treated to a brief 'Ocean's 11-style' précis of how Colin imagines the con will play out from start to finish. Needless to say, no plan ever works out exactly as imagined!
The humour is very dry, never in-your-face, and this isn't the kind of film to hand you gags. Laughing our loud isn't the point. Instead there's a mixture of situational comedy, miss-understanding comedy, wordplay, and great interaction between the characters. Some of the best jokes are the ones where you have to smile ruefully when things go wrong on a bad day. I thought at the time that the screen-writing was a lot like Richard Curtis, and could easily imagine Rowan Atkinson as the lead.
Instead the best joke is Colin Firth himself, playing a little man, in Cameron Diaz's words, instead of a larger-than-life character for a change; playing it straight, rarely smiling because he's not very happy (he wants revenge, remember) and not trying to seduce the very comely Cameron Diaz, who also plays a wickedly funny character without being cast as the comic side-kick.
But, from a critics point of view, I guess, there's not much originality. You can perceive homages to other films; old Ealing- comedies like the Ladykillers, where the subject matter isn't funny but there is some great humour. And I'm not referring to the re-make, which I didn't like.
I'd like to watch this film again at a later time and see if I can. It might grow on me and become a minor classic, or it might drop to mediocre. Either way, if you watch it you have to appreciate it for what it is, rather than what it isn't. And it probably helps if you have a temperament where you can see the funny side in unfunny situations.
This is fairly broad and obvious stuff. It has come in for a moderate amount of criticism, yet much of this is unfair: it is frequently genuinely funny (though not screamingly so), although the funniest moment, by far, is a fart gag. The knockabout side of the humour is comical and Firth is amiable enough, but Diaz overplays (not that she is given the opportunity to do anything else).
Perhaps criticism derives from the fact that writers the Coen brothers are supposed to be edgy and trendy, and this is actually pretty traditional stuff. Maybe so, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating: it may not appeal to those who love the Coens as auteurs, nor to the fans of toilet, sex and profanity filled youth comedies, but it greatly pleased a cinema populated by English couples in their middle years.
"Gambit" is a delightful lighthearted comedy about a heist that deviates from the plan. The original plan that Harry had was displayed in the beginning ten minutes of the film, then the rest of the run time is about how things do not go according to plan. Actually everything goes wrong and the situation becomes so hilarious. Colin Firth is great as a frustrated and disgruntled art curator, while Cameron Diaz is charming with her distinctive accent. She makes her character so interesting, her mischievous simplicity is a sharp contrast to how she gets things done in a well controlled manner. The ending twists are well executed, making it a truly Coen script. I find "Gambit" funny and entertaining.
Alan Rickman does an appropriately pantomime turn as the monstrously egotistical tycoon and gets some of the movie's most embarrassing scenes, but he seems to be having fun. Colin Firth makes a visible effort to enjoy losing his pants on a ledge outside the Savoy Hotel, but the role would have perhaps been easier for Hugh Grant. Stanley Tucci plays a German art expert who may (or may not) be inspired by Albert Schweitzer. The London scenes are livelier than the scenes at Rickman's Downtonesque country house, though a farting dowager moment targets a younger audience than this is likely to pull in.
This piece of fluff comes from the Coen brothers who usually apply themselves to something zanier and zingier. If they wanted to revamp a comedy heist movie, why didn't they take on Peter Ustinov's all-star Istanbul romp TOPKAPI (1964) or, if they wanted to keep the budget down, Warren Beatty's KALEIDOSCOPE, also from 1966, which had more pace and plot than the original GAMBIT but not such deft performances? It's really only the actors who raise this year's GAMBIT from being potentially dire into something that is merely mediocre.
If you're looking for Oceans 11 or The Italian Job type intricacies in the plot, it isn't going to happen. However, it's still cute and interesting with enough of a twist to be worth it. Where this show really shines is in the hilarious writing - the insults and comments are really really funny - and in the acting abilities of Colin Firth and Alan Rickman. Both do tremendous jobs. Colin Firth can take impossibly stupid situations, the kind Steve Martin and Ben Stiller do, situations almost painful in how absurd and moronic they are, and yet he makes them hilarious. A guy on a hotel ledge several stories up, no pants, is old old old, but Colin Firth makes it remarkably entertaining, as if this is the first time you've ever seen that scenario in a movie. Alan Rickman plays a SOB like no one else and he's the total jerk you love anyway (think his Sheriff of Nottingham role) because he's just so good at it and his muttered comments and blatant insults keep you busting out in laughs. I got to the point I was jotting down some of the lines in the show, and thinking I may need to go back to the beginning to write down others, because they're absurd, clever, and all-together brilliant.
If you need lots of intricate plot twists and details - maybe not for you. If you enjoy understated yet remarkably hilarious verbal humor, witty comeback, diverting insult and repartee, ridiculous colloquialisms and a few side-splitting guffaws, this is the show for you.
Colin Firth (The King's Speech) plays Harry Deane, an art curator working for Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman), a maniacal businessman who possesses little or no concern to the employees that work for him. Deane, who despises his boss, devises an elaborate scheme to swindle his boss using Shahbandar's biggest weakness, his fondness of art, more specifically Monet artwork. Shahbandar paid $11 Million Pounds (British Sterling) for Monet's 'Haystacks at Dawn'. Deane hopes to entice his boss into buying a forged Monet's 'Haystacks at Dusk' replica companion piece for $12 Million Pounds (British Sterling) in which Deane will authenticate as the real genuine article.
Prior to putting this genius plan into action, Deane shares his complex connivery with the audience in a dream sequence of how exactly this diabolical plan of action would/should fall into place. In order for this whole plan to work, Deane needs to secure the services of one more very essential person to his plot, P.J. Puznowski (Cameron Diaz). It seems that PJ is the great, granddaughter, of SGT Puznowski, who lead the raid on the Nazi stronghold of European stolen artwork which so happen to include, Monet's 'Haystacks at Dusk'. Deane is adamant that if Shahbandar is so obsessed and blind to Monet's artwork that he will do or pay any amount of money to complete his collection. However, nothing seems go as Henry Deane planned, it's a total debacle from the beginning.
The true star of this film is Alan Rickman!!! He's funny, arrogant, chauvinistic, evil, belittling, in other words, MAGNIFICENT!!! He steals every scene that he is in. Seriously underestimated by Deane (Firth), Shahbandar (Rickman) is a cut-throat businessman; Rickman (doing his best Alan Sugar, British magnate, impersonation) isn't as eagerly venerable to the dangling bait Deane has to offer.
A very cute movie nonetheless; I am actually now very interested in seeing the Michael Caine / Shirley MacLaine 1966 original. This film is definitely worth seeking out on DVD, Cable, or On Demand. Again this is not your typical Coen Brother's slapstick, in-your-face comedy, but instead a more adult refined sort of comedy. British in nature; however, be warned that some of the disturbing images of Alan Rickman from this film may resonate in your memories for a long time to come.
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Gambit is what i called a SWEET MOVIE give u both pleasure and fun which by the way a good thing when you're sad. again its not a great but its nice one such as (The Hottie & the Nottie 2008) and its even better.
I just loved all the main characters, especially Cameron Diaz she played the role of a taxes woman working at the rodeo very well and her accent was very good you have to watch the film just to saw her acting ability.
Colin Firth was OK, not at his top as (Bridget Jones's Diary ) but he has his nice moments which by the way were very funny.
Alan Rickman was at his top playing the snob Lionel Shahbandar in a very impressive way.
I loved very much the beginning of the film when you see the names of the players with a cartoon of each on of them telling you the story in some way but without destroying the story or the events.
It is a bout how to steel but in a very different way cause the huge problem is that the leader cant lead anyone even himself.