A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gambit is the 2012 remake of a slapstick comedy from 1966. There's partial male nudity, and there's a fantasy sequence in which a wealthy business executive is shown standing and sitting behind his desk naked, with well-placed objects there covering his private parts. A character loses his pants, and it looks as if he peed in them. There's also the occasional swear word (lots of variations of "s--t"), and, in one scene, front desk clerks in a hotel are led to believe that two characters are openly discussing prostitution; one of the characters seems to be going from room to room and sleeping with guests. A character gets punched in the face on two occasions, and a woman in a hotel room passes gas, not knowing that someone else is in her room.
What's the story?
Harry Deane (Colin Firth) is an art curator for media mogul Lord Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman). Tired of being bullied and belittled by the caustic Shabandar, Deane concocts a scheme to swindle him out of millions. Deane convinces Shabandar that a lost Monet painting has been discovered hanging in the living room of a double-wide trailer in Texas and that the owner of the trailer, a rodeo queen named PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz), must be flown to London and convinced to sell the fake painting. But when the original plan falls apart through a series of comic disasters and misunderstandings, Deane and Puznowski must come up with a new plan, even as their partnership is becoming increasingly at odds, and it seems the egocentric Shabandar will emerge victorious yet again.
Is it any good?
Despite having a screenplay written by the Coen Brothers, this remake of a 1966 slapstick farce tends to fall flat more often than it succeeds. The moments of slapstick might work better if any of the characters was especially likable and worthy of sympathy, but it all really boils down to which character one dislikes the least. Furthermore, Cameron Diaz's over-the-top Texas accent -- whether intentional or not -- gets very old, very quick.
Although the acting and the writing talent are certainly there, the parts don't quite add up to an entertaining whole. Whether it's a case of it being better to leave the original movie alone or whether there's simply not enough comedic material in the premise -- no matter how many pratfalls are thrown in -- the bottom line is that this movie probably should have been a lot more fun than it actually is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about remakes. Why do you think this movie was remade? Do you think it works in a more modern setting, as compared to when it was originally made in 1966?
How is slapstick comedy employed throughout the movie? Is it funny?
What other styles of comedy are used in the movie?
- In theaters: November 21, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: May 27, 2014
- Cast: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman
- Director: Michael Hoffman
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: Some suggestive content, partial nudity and a rude gesture.
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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