Gambit (12A, 89 mins) Comedy/Romance Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Tom Courtney, Stanley Tucci, Cloris Leachman Director: Michael Hoffman Released: Wednesday November 21
Michael Hoffman’s remake of the 1966 screwball caper about a cat burglar and showgirl who plan an elaborate heist has impeccable credentials.
Screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen have Oscars on the mantelpiece for Fargo and No Country For Old Men, and leading man Colin Firth deservedly collected a golden statuette for his exemplary work in The King’s Speech.
Co-star Tom Courtenay was twice shortlisted for Hollywood’s top honour for Doctor Zhivago and The Dresser, while Hoffman himself guided Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer to Oscar nominations in 2009 for the handsome historical drama The Last Station.
With so much talent in front of and behind the camera, what could possibly go wrong?
Everything, it seems, because Hoffman’s reworking is an unmitigated mess.
Firth loses his trousers for a protracted centrepiece sequence at the luxurious five-star Savoy hotel in London but Gambit loses its way well before then, wheezing and spluttering from one clumsy gag to the next.
Gambit is a shambles.
We laugh out of pity and embarrassment as the script blunders from dream sequences that suggest Harry might actually pull off his hare-brained heist to Austin Powers-style nudity that protects Rickman’s modesty with a generously proportioned paperweight.
The only award Firth will be collecting is a dreaded Razzie, which salutes the worst in Hollywood film-making.
“This is absurd,” despairs Firth, standing half naked on the Savoy hotel ledge as he stares down on passing black cabs.
You said it, Colin.
n Swearing, No Sex, Violence n Rating: 4/10