A remake of the 1966 film of the same name, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Gambit brings the frantic comedy of a Whitehall farce to the big screen.
In this new version Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz replace Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine as conspirators looking to con a businessman in an art scam.
In the best traditions of the genre, there’s a lot of running around, wry looks, some clever wordplay and the near-obligatory lost trousers.
The plot is pretty thin – Harry Deane (Firth) enlists the help of a Texas cowgirl (Diaz) and a forger (Tom Courtenay) to con unlikable employer Lord Shabandar (Alan Rickman).
Is it funny?
If you like farce (and we do) Gambit provides good natured comedy to wallow in while parking the concerns of daily life for 90 minutes. But if you prefer your comedy drier and more cerebral you’ll be better off looking elsewhere.
Sadly Rickman doesn’t get much to do beyond snarl and grimace but Firth makes amends by deploying the full range of his ‘likeable and charm’ persona and so makes it impossible not to like his wronged art expert even as he connives to pull off the con.
Diaz is fine but occasionally looks and sounds lost in what often feels like a a stage stretched larger for the large screen.
Funny enough and entertaining, Gambit is good harmless fun but its simplicity may not be for everyone.
Our verdict: 3/5
Gambit is out now.