Gambit (2012)

(On Cable TV, February 2015) The single biggest boon of trawling the schedule of specialized cable movie channels is discovering small unassuming gems that, for some reason, never made it big with popular audiences.  So this brings us to Gambit, a Coen-brothers-scripted heist comedy featuring hugely enjoyable actors such as Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Stanley Tucci.  The plot, adapted from a sixties film, concerns a disaffected art expert (Firth, both solid and hapless) trying to con his haughty employer out of millions in exchange for a fake painting.  When a Texas cowgirl (Diaz, hilariously unpretentious) is brought in to certify the authenticity of the fake, things get quite a bit off the initial plan.  While Gambit won’t win any awards, it’s a joy to watch largely due to a lighthearted script, some great comic set-pieces and a few actors doing what they know best.  The first ten minutes are hugely enjoyable; the rest is a bit more sedate but by no means unpleasant.  At a time where multiscreen cinema is all about spectacle, the natural resting place for those mid-budget comic caper movies is going to be found in alternate distribution channels.  So start looking at those cable TV listings closely –you may find unjustly-overlooked films like this one.

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