Gambit 2012 Movie Scene Colin Firth as Harry Deane without pants and Cameron Diaz as PJ Puznowski in her underwear in a hotel room

Gambit [2012]

Are you sometimes ashamed of your movie choices? I mean, we all know there are such things as guilty pleasures but some movies feel too commercial and formulaic for that definition. Gambit is a stereotypical easygoing comedy written by the Coen brothers and featuring an all-star cast. We will be following art curator Harry Deane who decides to trick his wealthy boss into buying a fake painting. Wait a minute, a lighthearted comedy involving paintings, forgeries, and a romantic twist, this sounds a bit familiar… Yes, more than ten years earlier The Thomas Crown Affair tried to do something similar. 

To make things even weirder, that’s also a remake of a sixties comedy just like the movie we’re talking about today. Only in that movie, nothing went wrong for Mr. Brosnan unlike here where everything goes wrong for Mr. Colin Firth. I think that we’re in such a time when naive comedies like this simply don’t gel with the general population. The new century brought with it cynicism and much higher standards. As you can already guess, the script is excellent showing that the Coen brothers can write a classic comedy. Although I have to say that I much prefer their black crime comedies.

With the exception of The Hudsucker Proxy, another movie featuring that naive sixties vibe. And I also appreciate that the movie didn’t turn out to be one of those lighthearted romantic comedies. The focus is more on our hero art curator Harry and his bumbling attempts to get back at his boss. Since his boss is played by Alan Rickman, I couldn’t help remembering Nobel Son. It’s another quirky comedy where he plays a pompous asshole. He’s such a great actor, I can’t believe his first real role was the one that made him famous in Die Hard. 

Moving on, Gambit is not a laugh-out-loud movie but more of an occasional-chuckle comedy. The pacing is quite fast and running time short, something that makes it a no-brainer when you’re not sure what movie to watch. Just play this safe mainstream comedy and you’ll know you’re going to have a good time for the next ninety minutes. There’s really not that much to talk about when it comes to this one. Gambit is a refreshing distraction you’re going to forget all about in a week. Firth’s antics reminded me of Peter Seller’s marvelous performance in another cool sixties comedy The Party. Now, that’s a laugh-out-loud comedy you need to check out. 

Lionel Shahbandar, a media mogul and a lord, has one more title to his name, a horrible boss. Harry Deane, who looks after his art collection, is a simple fellow with good manners and a big heart. However, he’s also really depressed because he has to be humiliated on a daily basis by his pompous boss. Harry and his good friend Major, devise a plan to stick it to the man. Well, in this case, Lord Shahbandar, magnificently played by the almighty Alan Rickman. This complicated yet simple scheme involves a third person who could not be farther from the business and art world, Miss PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz).

Director: Michael Hoffman

Writers:  Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Tom Courtenay

Fun Facts: Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock were both considered for the role of PJ Puznowski until Cameron Diaz won it.


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