Gambit

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Very cute and funny, this film was definitely entertaining and I have no idea why it was never released in theaters.  A remake of the 1966 film starring Michael Caine, this version by the Coen brothers is multi-layered, effervescent and uproariously funny with a tone strongly reminiscent of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  Colin Firth stars as Harry Deane, an art curator who wants to get even with his horrendous boss, Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman).  The means of perpetrating vengeance involves a Texas rodeo queen (Cameron Diaz) and her fake Monet painting and with that, the hilariously complicated con is on.  I absolutely adore Alan Rickman and here he is suave, menacing and utterly engaging. This is an underplayed film that is very British – subtle, witty and sly. Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci give excellent performances and Cameron Diaz was spot on as a spoof of a down home Texas cowgirl. I especially enjoyed the antics of the Japanese “translator” as well as the oh-so-discreet desk clerks at the Savoy hotel. This is not a masterpiece of film and might seem a little slow if dry British humor doesn’t tickle your fancy. I, however, enjoyed it tremendously and found it to be immensely satisfying fluff. – BETHANY

For all the pertinent details on Gambit, visit: The Internet Movie Database

*Note*  There seems to be no consensus online as to the correct spelling of Alan Rickman’s character.  I found no consistency even on reliable websites, so I simply picked one of them and went with it.

    Harry Deane (Colin Firth)  “This is the story of my brave, foolish friend Harry Deane. Mr. Deane’s work as a curator in London had gone, he felt, largely unappreciated. He told me of countless insults suffered at the hands of his employer, Lionel Shahbandar, media tycoon, art collector, and an absolute brute of a fellow.”

The Major (Tom Courtenay), narrator and co-conspirator of Harry’s.

Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman), a man with a ridiculous amount of money.

Pride of Texas, rodeo queen PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz).  “Like mama always said, if you can’t tell the difference between a pig and a javelina, well, you could lose a big old chunk out of your ass.”

                                     “So, how do you find London?”  “Well, everybody knows the answer to that one!  You turn right at Greenland!”

Stanley Tucci as Zaidenweber.  “The baron’s collection is heavily Flemish. Titian, Rubens, all the women so zaftig and heftig.”

Shahbandar and PJ at dinner with Japanese businessmen, where nothing can be taken at face value and there are plenty of snarky asides.

PJ at a swanky masquerade.

Clerks at the Savoy are famous for their discretion and unflappability.  Pip Torrens and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

After all this, the movie is going straight to DVD?  Say it isn’t so!

A still from the original 1966 version with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine.  (image found on http://www.pinstopin.com)

 

 

Photos courtesy of Crime Scene Pictures, ArtPhyl, FilmNation Entertainment, Michael Lobell Productions and Monument Pictures.

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2 thoughts on “Gambit

  1. Oh, no. The direction of this movie is awful and the jokes childish and poorly delivered (as you would expect from bad direction). I wanted the heavens to strike me if this turned out to be a Coens film. Fortunately is only written by them. Except for Cameron Diaz who does an amazing job with her character despite the poor concept, story, and dialogue; everything else is forgettable after a moment’s past.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, it isn’t the best quality of movie, hence only three stars. But while it strains credulity and is as you say, childish, I still enjoyed it for what it is – pure fluff. Without anything solid to anchor it, the film becomes nothing more than a cute story that blows away in the wind the second the credits roll. While I referenced Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gambit doesn’t even come close to the enduring craftsmanship of that spectacular classic.

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