dir Nash Edgerton
scr Anthony Tambakis, Matthew Stone
prd Charlize Theron, Nash Edgerton, AJ Dix, Beth Kono, Anthony Tambakis, Rebecca Yeldham
with David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Sharlto Copley, Amanda Seyfried, Harry Treadaway, Yul Vazquez, Thandie Newton, Carlos Corona, Melonie Diaz, Hector Kotsifakis, Paris Jackson
release US/UK 9.Mar.18
18/US Amazon 1h40
Innocents abroad: Seyfried and Oyelowo

theron edgerton copley
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Gringo Fast-paced and likeably pointless, this action comedy surges through a convoluted mesh of plot threads, just about keeping the audience entertained. There's absolutely nothing to it, as the messages are badly muddled, and the characters are never very deep or believable. But the cast is having a lot of fun in colourful locations.

Nigerian-born Chicago businessman Harold (Oyelowo) is taking a work trip to Mexico, just as he hears a rumour that company presidents Elaine and Richard (Theron and Edgerton) are planning to sell the firm. And then a message from his cheating wife Bonnie (Newton) only adds to his worries. Meanwhile, Los Angeles music shop clerk Sunny (Seyfried) tags along to Mexico with her boyfriend Miles (Treadaway), who's secretly plotting to smuggle cannabis pills back into America. But the pills are made in Harold's plant, and a local drug kingpin (Corona) wants the recipe.

What follows is a series of messy assaults, kidnappings that are both real and staged, and an escalating sense of chaos that only gets crazier after Richard's mercenary brother Mitch (Copley) arrives to sort things out. None of this makes much sense, as characters change personalities from scene to scene. But it's played with freewheeling energy that encourages the audience to sit back and go with it.

Each actors dives in with gusto, even if characters aren't terribly complex. The most intriguing role goes to Theron (who also produced the film), as Elaine is a vicious shark willing to do whatever it takes to survive. But there's also a moment where she lets her guard down in private, and Theron nicely balances this ruthless ambition with a darker sense of insecurity. By contrast, Seyfried and Treadaway have little to do but bumble along. Otherwise, Oyelowo is an enjoyably oblivious nice guy, Edgerton is a hilariously nasty jerk and Copley adds grit as an offbeat gun for hire.

While the film's premise plays around with serious issues, mainly as control corporate greed flares in the face of a burgeoning marijuana market, the script never grapples with any of it. There's also the problem that the story continually talks about how being a nice guy doesn't pay, then tries to have it both ways in the end. In other words, nothing about this movie has even a remote hint of thematic logic, which leaves it feeling utterly empty. That said, it's enjoyable for what it is.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 6.Mar.18

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Gringo Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.

© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall