Well here’s a fun looking one. Who doesn’t love a good action comedy? Well, I can’t say for certain if it’s actually good or not, yet, but I’m definitely open to it… as opposed to being open to a bad action comedy? I should really watch my wording.
The story looks like it’s about a company that takes their business to Mexico. They send a trustworthy employee who somehow gets kidnapped by the drug cartel and his employers don’t seem too keen on saving him through any official channels. Hence, sending in a guy that someone knows and high jinks ensues.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have David Oyelowo (A WRINKLE IN TIME , CLOVERFIELD PARADOX , QUEEN OF KATWE , and the upcoming CHAOS WALKING ), Sharlto Copley (FREE FIRE , and MALEFICENT ), Joel Edgerton (RED SPARROW , MIDNIGHT SPECIAL , and upcoming films BOY ERASED  and STINGRAY ), Charlize Theron (ATOMIC BLONDE , MAD MAX: FURY ROAD , and the upcoming LONG SHOT ), and Amanda Seyfried (THE LAST WORD , TED 2 , and upcoming films MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN  and ANON ).
In support, we have Thandie Newton (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II , and upcoming films SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY  and THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN F. DONOVAN), Alan Ruck (THE HAPPENING , FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF , and upcoming films CAPTIVE STATE  and SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER ), Kenneth Choi (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING , and upcoming films OFFICE UPRISING  and BUMBLEBEE ), Melonie Diaz (THE BELKO EXPERIMENT , and upcoming films ALL ABOUT NINA  and THE FIRST PURGE ), and Paris Jackson, making her feature film debut. Congrats, miss.
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Nash Edgerton, known for a ton of short films. Co-writing the screenplay are Anthony Tambakis (JANE GOT A GUN , and the upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD 2 ) and Matthew Stone (MAN OF THE HOUSE ). Composing the score is Christophe Beck, known for AMERICAN MADE (2017), SISTERS (2015), and upcoming films ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018) and HOLMES & WATSON (2018). The cinematographer is Eduard Grau, known for THE GIFT (2015), and the upcoming BOY ERASED. Finally, there is a grand total of three editors: Luke Doolan (COLOSSAL  and THE GIFT), David Rennie (KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES ), and Tatiana S. Riegel (I, TONYA  and THE FINEST HOURS ).
Overall, I really like the cast. Edgerton, Theron, Oyelowo, especially Copley, I think I’m going to get a few good laughs from this. Count me in, y’all!
This is my honest opinion of: GRINGO
Harold (David Oyelowo) is an otherwise stand up guy who is a great employee for his prestigious multi-million dollar company, owned by his self-absorbed friend Richard (Joel Edgarton), and a loving husband to his wife Bonnie (Thandie Newton). But when his company’s business takes him, Richard, and his co-president Elaine (Charlize Theron) to Mexico, Harold soon learns that nothing is as it seems. He discovers that Richard only seems to talk down on him, isn’t appreciated at work, and his wife has been cheating on him and plans to leave him. In an attempt to get revenge, Harold plots to scam Richard and the company out of some kidnapping insurance money by faking his own kidnapping.
Yeah, alright, this was a pretty funny movie. That two comedies in two weeks that I’ve legitimately enjoyed. I’ll take it.
Right away, you know exactly who these characters are and what they’re about, and there isn’t a single likable character in this movie, but I mean that in the best way possible. Of course Richard and Elaine are unlikable for obvious reasons. Richard is on a power trip of epic proportions, is highly self-absorbed, and doesn’t seem to care about anyone but the money he makes. And Harold is kind of unlikable in the sense in that he is so damned pathetic. I mean, nice guy and all, but he is so damned gullible and easy to manipulate that it almost becomes a chore to see him be the protagonist. But as soon as everything becomes unraveled, Oyelowo’s performance is damn convincing as the man just found out that he has no friends, no more wife, and works for a company that was never going to appreciate his efforts. The emotions are strong, as infrequent as they are in the movie, and as cowardly as he is, he does find moments where he fights back and defends himself.
Now lets talk about arguably the crowning gem of the movie, Theron as Elaine. She is worse because she’s everything that Richard is, but on top of that, she’s also insane, politically insensitive, and kind of racist. Once again, in anyone else’s hands, I don’t how much of this would have worked. Let me gloss over a scene for you to perfectly describe who Elaine is. So by a certain point in the story, it’s established that she has a massive lady-boner for Richard, constantly trying to seduce him, and he rejecting her for the most part. So she follows him to his new penthouse, and sees him through a window with another woman. Almost immediately, she starts crying. But then she looks in the rear-view mirror of her car and starts talking to her reflection. Saying things like, “You’re a winner. You always get your way. Who’s daddy’s blue-ribbon girl?” By God, I’ll be taking that “blue-ribbon girl” line with me to the grave! Then she goes to Richard’s apartment and confront him with the woman he’s seeing, who clearly looks uncomfortable. When Elaine’s attention diverts to her, she asks her name, she doesn’t say, and then she says, “Aww, she’s deaf. That’s so adorable.” And then in probably the most insulting thing that Theron has done in her career… that I’ve seen, anyway, she makes fun of her by making awkward hand gestures, clearly mocking sign language, and making garbled noises. By heavenly Jesus was it uncomfortable, but I guess I’ve got my one-way ticket to Hell because I was laughing my ass off. And no, not because I think it’s funny to make fun of the hearing-impaired. But it’s clearly established that this is supposed to be a dark comedy, and Elaine is not supposed to be a likable character. She’s constantly spouting stupid shit, is not the protagonist of the story, and is a deliciously despicable character. So for her to go that far wasn’t all that surprising to me.
So am I saying this is a great movie? No. While I certainly believe that I like this movie a hell of a lot more than both critics and general audiences, I can’t claim that there aren’t a few problems.
For one thing, yeah, as funny as the movie can be, it is highly unfocused. At the end of the day, what is this movie about? Is it about Harold getting saved from the drug cartel? Is it about the company trying to sell their new weed pills? Is it about The Black Panther (Carlos Corona) stealing money from the company? Hell, they even throw in a subplot about Sunny (Amanda Seyfried) and her boyfriend Miles (Harry Treadaway) trying to smuggle drugs from the company as well. The plot definitely goes all over the place. And yeah, the Sunny and Miles story is entirely pointless. You could cut out every scene that these characters are in and the movie would be a smoother ride. It’d still have some lack of focus, but not as much. Also, Sunny is a bit too stupid for her own good. She never asks enough questions why Miles is constantly on his phone and rips her away from the tourist attractions.
There’s also some character inconsistency with Elaine, sadly, some bad direction, and a random scene involving religious beliefs in the end that were never present in the film prior. So, definitely not perfect. But for what I got, I enjoyed it. I laughed, I cringed, I cringed as I laughed, it’s a fun little film. But you might want to take my words with a grai n of salt, as it seems the consensus is that it’s not a popular, or well-liked flick. So as a recommendation is concerned, I think it’s worth checking out, but viewer beware. Go for a matinee screening or discount day. Best bet may be to save it entirely for a rental. This movie is daddy’s blue-ribbon girl.
My honest rating for GRINGO: 4/5