Movies: Gambit (2012)

No, it's not an X-Men movie.

It's actually a loose remake of a 1966 film starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine.

We stumbled onto this one while once again searching for something beyond the top layer of new releases and junk food films that rise to the top of the "suggested" list like so much scum on a pond. And though it has something like 18% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, the cast sold us on giving it a try.

And we really enjoyed it.

For one thing, the script for this rehash was written by the Coen brothers, and it shows. There were some laugh-out-loud moments that played quite well.

Colin Firth (and I've said before I'll watch him in just about anything) plays Harry Deane, art curator to the wealthy and obnoxious Lord Shabandar (Alan Rickman, who I'll also watch in just about anything). Though his personal motivations are not plumbed all that deeply—it seems the writers believe it's enough that Shabandar is a terrible person—Deane decides to dupe his employer out of several million pounds. To do so, he needs the help of PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz), a Texan cowgirl who happens to have the right last name for the job.

I won't go into the details, but things play out in amusing fashion. Firth is a good sport throughout, and while I could complain about the portrayal of Texan women and the stereotypes therein . . . In the service of comedy, I'll let this one go.

The overall effect was of a heist film nicely blended with a screwball comedy. Just the right thing to watch while sipping some wine on a Friday night.

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