Friday, January 24, 2020

Not-so-merry, Ritchie rich 'Gentlemen' offer a lively caper nonetheless

Dockery and McConaughey look just lovely together.
The motley crew of criminals and con artists masquerading as "The Gentlemen" certainly looks mighty impressive. It includes Hugh Grant, as the blackmailing narrator; Matthew McConaughey, the suave antihero and marijuana impresario; Colin Farrell, a trying-to-go-straight pug/thug; and Jeremy Strong (the terrific middle son in HBO's "Succession"), here looking to succeed McConaughey's Mickey Pearson as Britain's biggest pot dealer for both aristocrats and the deprived.

And, please, don't forget handsome Charlie Hunnam, rugged right-hand to Pearson and the guy ever listening intently to the scheme presented by Grant's ambitiously crooked private eye. Of course, all of the above present themselves with style, smugness and cleverly cocky conversation from writer/director Guy Ritchie, himself a bloke who never has been accused of modesty on or off the screen.

Ritchie's gentlemanly excesses become obvious, a bit convoluted and, honestly, not radically different from what we've seen before in early gangster-filled and violence-heavy hits, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch," and the almost decade later "RocknRolla."

What remains, though, are some entertainingly funny bits, not to mention an electric turn from "Downton Abbey" regular Michelle Dockery, kinda slumming now as Pearson's wily wife. Even the most politically correct might admire her toughness, that is, when not being offended more than once by lots of salty, sexist talk and ill-mannered treatment of the masses from bad guys who seem to truly love everything they claim to know and do.

Rated "R": violence, language throughout, sexual references and drug content; 1:55; $ $ $ and 1/2 out of $5

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