Gambit Blu-ray Review
When they eventually do tributes to the film careers of Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth, GAMBIT will no doubt be missing in the highlights. This is one film that just doesn’t work in any way. It is what you would call half baked. Another surprising aspect was that it was written by the Coen brothers.
GAMBIT is a remake of a film by the same name in 1966. It focuses on an art curator by the name of Harry Deane (Colin Firth). He works for an abusive boss in London named Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman), who is a big time media mogul. Harry is obsessed with tricking his boss and making some serious coin on the way.
Harry’s plan is to get Lionel to buy a fake painting by Monet. Lionel is a competitive person who needs to win everything he does at all cost. For years he’s been competing with Takagawa (Togo Igawa), a Japanese businessman who also enjoys buying expensive paintings at auctions. At an earlier auction Lionel outbid Takagawa for Monet’s Haystacks (“Dawn”) for 11 million pounds. There was a matching painting called Haystacks (“Dusk”) that was done at the same time. It’s been missing for years and it is like the white whale for Lionel to get this. Harry knows this and wants to exploit this fact.
Harry sets his plan in motion. He has man named The Major (Tom Courtenay) paint a well done Monet forgery of Haystacks (“Dusk”). The next step is to put it in an unlikely location. He finds a rodeo queen in Texas named PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz) for this step in the scheme. PJ is featured in one of the magazines that Lionel owns. In the photo spread the famed lost Monet painting is visible to all to see. Of course we know that is a fake and it is there to snare Lionel.
Harry has the plan all in his head on how easily it will go. He visualizes how every detail will be and actions each person takes. This is life and life doesn’t always go as planned. The planned meeting with PJ doesn’t exactly come off without a hitch. Harry gets punched by a guy at the bar. This sets up a never ending joke where Harry gets punched over and over again in the film. It’s not really funny the first time and it doesn’t get any better no matter how much it is repeated.
The story just creaks along as the plan comes into play. Harry had planned on being the one who tells Lionel that the painting is authentic and to get Lionel to pay out for it. Lionel throws him a curve ball by hiring German art curator Martin Zaidenweber (Stanley Tucci) for this task. I don’t know if the crazy accents in GAMBIT are supposed to derive humor from them. Tucci’s accent is indecipherable and doesn’t sound German. Cameron Diaz’s Texan accent is beyond atrocious. It is distracting every time she opens her mouth. Then there is this Japanese translator who has an exaggerated Japanese accent that doesn’t elicit any laughs.
I really can’t figure out the thinking behind this script by the Coen brothers. They are usually quite witty with their prose. Here it is just lazy and seems phoned in. Harry gets a wet spot on his pants near the crotch area that doesn’t go away. Hardy har har. There are flatulence jokes and Harry losing his pants that all seem so desperate. There is also an extreme lack of chemistry between Diaz and Firth. It doesn’t materialize and it hurts what is on screen. It is sad in a way seeing all these talented actors waste their talent on such a turkey.
GAMBIT ends with a surprise that is seen from a mile away. It is all better to just not talk about this film ever again.
GAMBIT BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: It is shown in 1080p High Definition in 2:35:1 aspect ratio.
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD MA
There are no extras except for the previews. That is it.