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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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Knowing that the Coen brothers were behind this remake of the 1960's movie, we vaguely expected some of their trademark surreal strangeness. Instead Gambit is a very traditional British film which feels like it could have been made in Ealing, back in the day. It's all very low key, very wry; gently humorous in a self-mocking manner, with the occasional acerbic stab lurking in the beautifully understated lead performance from Colin Firth.
In fact, all of the leads are excellent; Alan Rickman and Firth play brilliantly off one another, and Cameron Diaz provides exactly the right amount of brash Murcan razzle-dazzle as the cowgirl who happens to be lending a hand with an audacious art theft. Stanley Tucci deftly carries off a ludicrously over the top caricature of an appalling international art boffin.
The true star is the script, however, which cheerfully ambles into the arena of traditional 'where's my trousers' farce without a hint of postmodernist cynicism. The scenes in the Savoy Hotel fall just on the right side of ridiculous, with double entendre tripping over outright innuendo at every turn.
There are few moments of shrieking hilarity in Gambit, but instead the 90 minutes has a cumulative feelgood effect, with a near-perfect payoff at the finale. A delightful, old fashioned comedy.
8/10
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on 15 March 2013
Having been disappointed at missing Gambit when it was on at my local cinema a few months ago, I have now at last got round to watching it on DVD. My main criteria for watching this particular film is that I am an avid `Rickmaniac' (Alan Rickman fan) and, having got most of his films/TV work on DVD, felt I owed it to my allegiance to add this one too!

So, as Colin Firth himself said in an interview, this film is not ground-breaking - all the old `clichés' from 60s and 70s capers seem to be there, along with `Pink Panther'-style farces - from Colin Firth without his trousers (time to move over, Brian Rix ) to a dig at the Japanese, American, Germans and indeed Brits, with all their stereotypical idiosyncrasies to the fore. All that seems to be missing is Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, complete with trilby hat, magnifying glass and his trademark distinctly ridiculous French accent. Then again, it's what we, as Brits, do best - the fact that we haven't really done so since the 60s and 70s is neither here nor there. The other fact being that the Coen brothers, who wrote the script, ironically, are in fact American. Then again, the original of this was made in the early 1960s (with Michael Cain and Shirley McClain in the lead roles, and I'm led to believe that the original writer was in fact English, though please don't quote me on that.)

The role of Harry Deane, the put upon Art Curator at the heart of the story, is not one that you would automatically think of Colin Firth for. And, although he does his very best, I spent most of the time I was watching him thinking that someone else (not sure who) might have been better. He wasn't terrible by any means but I personally think there are better comedic actors out there. Alan Rickman himself is larger than life as the selfish, arrogant media tycoon boss that Deane is trying to con, and Cameron Diaz plays her part well as the ditzy rodeo rider, `P.J' Puznowski, called in to help Deane. Maybe her 'Texan-ness' is somewhat over the top, but then again, I'm guessing that was deliberate too.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I have to say I found some of the first part of the film a little confusing, but once the penny dropped, it all fell into place and totally made sense.

However, side-splitting this film is not, but it does have its moments - such as a highly amusing scene in the Savoy Hotel foyer when two receptionists (superbly played by Pip Torrens and Julian Rhind-Tutt) get the wrong end of the stick re a conversation between P.J (Diaz) and Harry Deane: This is innuendo at it's very best and, in a way, the rest of the comedy from then on is a bit of a let down by comparison.

Whilst it would be fair to say that this film would be unlikely to make anyone's `Top 10' (or probably `Top 100' for that matter), I'm sure there must be worse ways to spend 85 minutes. I can honestly say it was a fun, cheery `caper' that certainly left more than a hint of a smile on my face. (Not least because you get to see Colin Firth sans trousers, and more of Mr. Rickman than most of his other films have revealed; the latter not necessarily a good thing at his age of 67, I hasten to add, but I admit to being easily pleased at my own age nowadays!) The twist at the end though is definitely worth waiting for and elevates the film to slightly more than your average comedy, e.g. it has a plot!

Quite what other reviewers have meant when they've said things like "the worst film ever" and "totally unfunny" (as some professional review claimed), I'm really not sure. Have they seen some of the movies out there? Trust me, this was one of Alan Rickman's better ones (though hardly a glamorous role, and playing a rather nasty character in a kind of endearing way that only he can) - and I should know - I've sat through them all!
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on 1 January 2013
This movie is not brilliant and it delivers nothing new, but as it has been said before it is a traditional British comedy with some nice moments that make you smile.
There are some hilarious scenes (the Savoy Hotel)that even make you laugh out loud.
It is a must for fans of Colin Firth and Alan Rickman, who are great together. If you are not a fan it is still a movie for a nice evening with friends.
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Gambit is a remake of an old Michael Caine film, where an art dealer (Firth) attempts to con his unbearable boss (Rickman) by enlisting the help of a beautiful, but slightly naïve, American cowgirl (Diaz). With those three names on the cast list, you know it's going to be good, especially when it's written by the - critically-acclaimed - Coen brothers. However, you may be wrong.

And it's not the fault of the actors. To put it simply, they're given very little to work with, script-wise. Cameron Diaz does what she does best, i.e. she's cute, a bit dippy, but thoroughly endearing nonetheless. Alan Rickman is...well, Alan Rickman - he's devious, cold-hearted and charming. Still, so far, so good, but then we come to Colin Firth - an actor who's proved his excellent credentials in numerous films. However, he's the protagonist here - attempting to basically rip-off his boss by foul means. Therefore, for us to feel sympathy towards him, we need to see him as more of a good-guy. Yet, he does very little to warm the audience towards him. He's spineless, a bit too weedy and, just because his boss isn't very nice, thinks he can take him for all he's worth. He doesn't even give us that many laughs (a few, but certainly not many). Unfortunately for him, Rickman steals the show and - despite obviously being the baddie - seems to charm the audience more than Firth can.

I know Gambit is supposed to be an addition to the long line of British `farce' films, but it does tend to rely a little too much on low-brow humour, rather than utilising the cast's natural talent. Also, because it's rated 12A, it can never really descend into the `gross-out' territory and do anything too risky.

Unfortunately, what you're left with is a very capable cast, being reduced to simply one of a number of stereotypes (the English are VERY English, Cameron Diaz is VERY Texan and the Japanese are VERY Japanese).

It's not a bad film. I quite enjoyed it, plus it doesn't drag itself out for too long. It's charming enough in its own way, only with the heavyweight names that go with it, it could have been so much more than just an excuse to watch Cameron Diaz in hotpants.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 May 2015
I spend a nice, relaxing moment watching this very honest comedy, even if it is not any kind of masterpiece. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

British art curator Harry Deane (Colin Firth) works for a morbidly rich and horribly abusive man, media mogul Lord Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman). After years of suffering he decides to take revenge on his boss, by using his one Achilles heel - Monet. Indeed Shabandar is obsessed with Monet's paintings and especially he was hunting for years and years for a little known piece known as "Haystacks at Dusk", which was plundered by Goering in 1940, but vanished since 1945. To succeed Deane teams up with a master art forger known as the Major (Tom Courtenay) and a rodeo girl from Texas, a certain PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz), the granddaughter of American sergeant who supposedly was the last man to see the painting in 1945... The plan is to sell a supposedly miraculously found painting to Shabandar for a ridiculous amount of money... Of course, no plan survives intact the first moments of battle and therefore from the beginning virtually everything will go wrong...))) That covers the first two minutes of the film and then the story really begins.

This is the remake of a 1966 comedy under the same title with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. I admit with some shame that I didn't see this film and therefore I cannot compare them - but this 2012 remake was quite entertaining and well done.

All the four main actors did really very well and once Stanley Tucci appears, in a couple of short but significant cameos, he is absolutely irresistible too...))) The scenario for this 2012 version was written by Coen brothers and you can instantly feel it, as characters are well worked out, dialogs are quite good and jokes are funny. There is only one scene in which the humour flies a little bit lower (it involves an embarassing wet spot on the pants of one of the characters) but it is not a very long one. There is no obscenities and nothing gross - in fact the film is so dignified, that one lonely f@rt joke sounds with nobility of a national anthem...))) There are also some rather surprising twists and the ending is not bad at all.

Summa summarum I liked this film, I laughed a lot and I spend a nice relaxing moment watching it. I may even keep the DVD for another viewing in the future. ENJOY!
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This loose remake of the 1966 comedy starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine seems to make frequent references to "Pink Panther" material, from the opening titles to the obvious recycling of classic gags: the trouser-less man, the naked man in an everyday situation, the haughty hotel clerks, the stereotyped Japanese businessman, and so on. Some familiar names sleepwalked through this disappointing movie, perhaps not doing their reputations too much harm, but failing miserably to lift either the tone or the interest level. Sometimes even great actors are not enough to save a mediocre project, especially when on-screen chemistry is missing.

Very briefly, the story follows the efforts of one Harry Deane (a disgruntled art curator played by Colin Firth) to put one over his boorish and unpleasant employer (Alan Rickman) by tricking him into buying a fake Monet painting. Deane's ace-up-the-sleeve is the brilliant forger Major Wingate (Tom Courtenay) who can reproduce to order any old master, while his wild-card is a Texas rodeo queen called PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz) who poses as the naive owner of the lost painting. As in the original, the first part of the film shows the perfect execution of the fraud. Predictably, in real life the heist runs into problems and the comedy is supposed to come from the shifts to which Deane and his flamboyant accomplice are put in persisting with his stinker of a plan.

Most good movies are built around plots that are neither original nor brilliantly clever but have one essential ingredient: that vital spark that catches the attention of the viewer and makes you care about one or more of the characters so that you want to know what happens to them. In this case the spark, if it was there, eluded me. My impression was that a lot of visible effort went into utilising all known comedic gags (including some cringe-worthy British, Texan, German and Japanese cultural clichés) but the film's humour was simply not to my taste. It's quite sad that someone imagined that the sight of Alan Rickman's naked body (rear and front varieties) should be good for a laugh. His character was so cardboard that even his exquisite talent failed to rescue it and, frankly, he was unrecognisable throughout. Cameron Diaz is neither good nor bad, she delivers her lines and puts some energy into her performance but is not strong enough to lift the weight of a charmless script. Stanley Tucci is under-employed in a bit part of epic cheesiness. Colin Firth, whose dead-pan expression has been put to good comedic use in the past, here comes off as plain boring and his monochromatic performance glaringly exposes his acting limitations. In one scene he gets tangled up with a chair in trying to move it and his wooden fumblings, far from being funny, simply made me think, "Just leave it, will you?". One the main trailer scenes, where he loses his trousers while trying to hide on a building ledge, plainly demonstrates the kind of juvenile humour that drives the film. Perhaps Peter Sellers could have made it work, but Colin doesn't. In another scene, we are expected to dissolve into laughter when an older woman farts. You get the idea. The only bright spark is Tom Courtenay who is quietly fascinating and makes an interesting character out of almost nothing, his screen presence is magnetic. There is one funny scene in the Savoy hotel where, ironically, the humour is provided by two minor characters acting as reception staff.

So, all in all, I did not find this film amusing, in sharp contrast to Wild Target [DVD] which I really enjoyed. Tastes differ and I hope that my comments will allow you to decide whether this is the sort of thing you would like to watch.
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on 2 April 2013
An all star cast bring this 'art heist' movie together in a fun packed film. Whilst you can see some of the twists in the plot coming like a juggernaut heading toward you at full speed there are some more subtle twists and turns that leave you thinking 'clever!'
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2013
I have usually enjoyed Cohen Brothers films and I certainly like the principal actors who feature in this work however this is a disappointment. One reviewer likened this to Ealing comedies but I disagree-it is more George Formby, Old Mother Riley etc! The basic story of an attempted con with a twist is a good one. When Colin Firth looses his trousers, edges along the side of a building, enters a room occupied by a strange woman who then farts you wonder what inanity will occur next. Having said this it is an easy film to watch but I would have hated to pay inflated cinema prices to see it. I give it three stars mainly on the basis of the acting.
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on 1 August 2013
The Coen Brothers have managed to hit a new low here with a comedy that's just plain not funny. How the creators of such comic masterpieces such as Raizing Arizona, the Big Lebowski and Brother Where Art Thou could admit to writing such utter tripe is beyond me. Taking a sweet 1960's film and trying to update it for the 21st century whilst making little concession for the fact that the world - and our collective sense of humour - has changed just a little since then seems such a pointless and, having wasted 85 minutes of my life watching it, completely joyless exercise.

It's just not good enough to imagine that dragging together some established English acting luvvies such as Colin Firth, Tom Courtney & Alan Rickman and throwing in some painfully ill-judged 1960's comedic devices (accidently ripping & losing one's trousers on a spike, spilling water on one's trousers in the groin area, etc, etc) could ever evoke fond memories of a more innocent and long forgotten time in celluloid. This is a completely banal and utterly misguided piece of film-making and I can only assume that the 4 and 5 star reviews this received from Woman & Womens Own magazine had much to do with Colin Firth's appearance rather than any serious evaluation of the film's comedic credentials.
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on 27 April 2014
slight remake of the Micheal Caine and Shirley McClaine 60s comedy.Pompous englishman hatches a fraud plot against his eagertistyical boss with a deep south "Cameron Diaz" farm girl.Nice London sites and a good feel good movie.Ok as a time passer.
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