Apparently Gambit is a sort-of-remake of a sixties film by the same name, starring Michael Caine (who is no stranger to having his films remade), but I was unaware of this at the time. It stars Colin Firth as Harry Deane, a bumbling and socially awkward art curator for media mogul and occasionally naked bully Lionel Shahbandar, played by Alan Rickman. Feeling undervalued and mistreated, Harry Deane attempts to trick Shahbandar into spending an extortionate amount of money on a fake Monet with the help of Texan cowgirl PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz). Things don’t quite go to plan, and various silly (and generally trouserless) hijinks ensue.
I had quite high expectations when I went to see Gambit. It looked very funny from the trailer, and I always have high hopes for anything starring Colin Firth or Alan Rickman, let alone a combination of the two. Throw in the Coen brothers, and we’re good to go! As for Cameron Diaz, I don’t usually like her, but she seemed responsible for a lot of the comedic value in the trailer, so I thought I’d find her bearable in this film at least.
I did enjoy it, but I was a bit disappointed. Considering its cast list, I just thought it would be a bit better than it was. It was quite funny in places, but the jokes were a bit overdone and at times a bit awkward. I actually thought Cameron Diaz was the best of the big three, which was not the outcome I expected. Colin Firth is so good at playing the bumbling Englishman and Alan Rickman has perfected the impatient bully, but I did feel like they were a bit typecast and overshadowed by Cameron Diaz’s larger than life character. As much as I like old Colin and Alan, they weren’t exactly doing anything new or different than they have done in a while. And wonderfully seductive as his voice is, I wasn’t really prepared to see quite so much of Alan Rickman. He is in his sixties now, and things are not quite as firm as perhaps they once were, so a maximum of one naked scene would have been more than sufficient (although my mother did enjoy it).
Without giving too much away, I like that it didn’t have a clichéd romantic ending, and there was a nice little twist that made me rethink the film as a whole and some of the characters, and that did improve the film as a whole for me, although at the same time it wasn’t much of a surprise. Still, it was quite entertaining and a good watch if you’re not looking for anything too deep or complicated. Silly capers always make for good family viewing, and seeing it did cheer me up after I came home to discover my cat had vomited on my bed, so that’s something.