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Film / Gambit

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Gambit is a 2012 film directed by Michael Hoffman, starring Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Stanley Tucci. It's sort of a remake of the 1966 crime caper film by the same name starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine.

Harry Deane (Firth) is an art curator for Lord Shabandar (Rickman), a thoroughly unpleasant, but very rich man. Deane knows that Shabandar has an obsession with Claude Monet's Haystacks series, so he sets up a scheme where he enlists rodeo queen PJ Puznowski (Diaz) to fake owning one of the Haystacks paintings (actually a forgery by Deane's friend, the Major) so that they can swindle Shabandar for a sizable sum. Of course, everything goes wrong from the outset, but Puznowski starts to realize that maybe there's a little more to Deane than she thought.

Not to be confused with the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Or the game show.

Gambit provides examples of:

  • Animated Credits Opening: Stylistically summarize most of the film, and evokes the feel of older heist movies like The Pink Panther.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Puznowski's roping skills come in handy when she has to subdue a guard lion...
  • Completely Unnecessary Translator: Shahbandar has a meeting with Takagawa, a Japanese rival who is being helped by a very flamboyant translator, Chuck. It's quickly revealed that most of the Japanese executives understand Shahbandar perfectly, but that they enjoy making fun of Shahbandar by forcing him to go through a translator.
  • The Con: Deane and Puznowski are seeking to scam Shahbandar out of 12 million pounds sterling. In actuality, Deane is out to steal "Haystacks at Dawn", the painting that Shahbandar already owns.
  • Daydream Surprise: In an early scene of the film, Deane approaches Puznowski, photographs the picture in Puznowski's immaculate trailer, Shabandar is immediately hooked, and the sale goes off without a hitch. Then, we flash back to reality where he hasn't yet approached her and, once he does, everything goes off script.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: When Puznowski is singing "live karaoke" in the garden, she's hilariously off-key.
  • Lingerie Scene: In order to cover for Deane's presence in the room, Puznowski goes through a scene where she's only in bra and panties, ostensibly slipping into "something more comfortable" for Shahbandar.
  • Naked People Are Funny: A running joke throughout the film is Deane trying to turn Puznowski off of Shahbandar by casually dropping references to him being a nudist. It seems like he was mistaken, but the final shot is a rear shot of Shahbandar, completely nude, looking at his paintings.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Takagawa and his people play up the "wacky Japanese" stereotype in an effort to get concessions out of Shahbandar.
    • Also, Deane is apparently much more on-the-ball than he initially seems, having masterminded the scheme.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Major is never referred to as anything else.
  • The Precarious Ledge: Deane is forced to travel from room to room in the Savoy by the outside ledge. Multiple times.
  • The Remake: Of the 1966 film by the same name. The plot is very similar, but the details are different.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Near the end of the film, Deane seemingly scrubs his plot by revealing that the forgery is indeed fake after his replacement judged it genuine, but he then rejects the offer of his job back, claiming that he can't work for someone who would treat Puznowski so poorly. In actuality, it's all part of his master plan to make off with a piece of priceless artwork Shahbandar owns.