O talent, where art thou?
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 collected a golden statuette for his exemplary work in The King's Speech.
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.
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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.
Mild-mannered art curator Harry Deane (Firth) grows tired of the constant bullying of his obscenely wealthy boss, Lord Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman). So he concocts an elaborate swindle to teach his employer a lesson. With the help of forger The Major (Tom Courtenay), Harry travels to Texas to befriend rodeo queen PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz) and her tobacco-spittin' grandma (Cloris Leachman). Harry asks the blonde beauty to pose as the owner of a priceless Monet called Haystacks At Dusk. The "masterpiece" is actually a fake painted by The Major.
Gambit is a shambles. The only award Firth will be collecting is a dreaded Razzie.
"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.