10 January 2014

Gambit (starring Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman)

This is not my usual kind of film, but at some point Amazon recommended it to me, probably based on one or other of the stars. It looked interesting so I added it to my wishlist. Having received it for Christmas, we wanted something light and undemanding to watch as a family, and this seemed to fit the bill.

I had no idea what to expect; the blurb talked about a comedy involving an art forgery. And, indeed, that's pretty much what it's about. The opening title sequence is somewhat reminiscent of the old 'Pink Panther' farces, presumably deliberately; the whole thing bore something of a resemblance to them, as far as my memory goes, with a significant amount of both clich├ęd and slapstick humour. However the timing was impeccable and expressions so perfect that this was lifted out of what could have been simply silly or embarrassing.

Alan Rickman is excellent as the dour multi-millionaire, even if the character felt, at times, a little too similar to Professor Snape; Colin Firth is perfectly cast as the klutzy art critic with the dubious morals, a far cry from Pride and Prejudice, or The King's Speech! As for Cameron Diaz, I don't know how accurate her accent is, but she is brilliant as the Texan cowgirl who's a lot brighter than she seems...

The film is rated 12 (12A in the US), presumably due to some quite significant innuendoes - there's a wonderful conversation in a hotel foyer, entirely innocent but totally misinterpreted by the staff - but there's nothing explicit, no violence, and only a couple of brief scenes showing partial or rear view nudity, intended to be amusing rather than suggestive.

Yes, the humour is primarily that of schadenfreude - laughing at other people's misfortunes or clumsiness. But it's so cleverly executed (and exaggerated) that I did smile several times, and even laughed a couple of times. Don't expect anything deep or thought-provoking in this movie, or even any romance... but for a light evening's viewing, we thought, overall, that it was great.

There are subtitles in Englsh for the hard-of-hearing, though none in other languages on this DVD; the only extra is a 'making of' documentary.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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