dir Julian Gilbey
scr Julian Gilbey, Will Gilbey, Chris Howard
prd Alessandro Forte, Chris Howard, Frank Mannion, Terry Stone, Daniel Toland
with Ed Speleers, Will Poulter, Alfie Allen, Sebastian De Souza, Emma Rigby, Thomas Kretschmann, Graham McTavish, Mem Ferda, Michael Bisping, Malese Jow, Kate Magowan, Robbie Gee
release UK 30.Apr.14
14/UK 1h42
The con is on: Speleers and Allen

poulter desouza kretschmann
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Plastic What looks like a whizzy caper with a likeable cast is undermined by an appallingly weak script. Every plot point is so contrived that any attempt to engage with the story or sympathise with the characters is doomed to failure. And the direction and editing simply aren't strong enough to salvage it.

In his spare time as an economics student, Sam (Speleers) runs a successful credit card scam with his classmates Fordy, Yatesey and Rafa (Poulter, Allen and De Souza). Then they're rumbled by gangster thug Marcel (Kretchmann), who demands a £2m payoff to leave them alone. So Sam manipulates his new girlfriend Frankie (Rigby), who coincidentally works for a credit card security firm, into helping them, and they head to Miami to pull a series of big-money capers. Then when things go south, they launch an insanely elaborate sting to rob £20m in diamonds.

This is one of those lazy screenplays in which convenient things pop up in every scene to help push the story further. For example, Not only does Frankie happen have access to the needed security information, but Rafa just happens to resemble the prince of Brunei, and Yatesey just happens to be a hothead traitor who will add some third-act tension. And these aren't all of the plot contrivances; there isn't a moment of this film that's remotely believable.

Fortunately, the four lead actors are thoroughly watchable. They may act like idiots and resist being likeable, but the performances are sharp enough to add small telling details to the characters. Speleers and Allen get the most complex roles, which isn't saying much, as guys who have to make some sort of moral decision; Poulter and De Souza are merely along to offer comic relief, which they do well. And the painfully stiff Rigby essentially registers as a Barbie doll. Which is appropriate, considering the film's title.

Much better is the underused Kretschmann, who offers some real menace as the relentless Marcel. And the gratuitous use of Miami as a setting offers some pretty backdrops along the way, while the fast-pace just about distracts us from the seriously terrible dialog and plot. If you can switch your brain off completely, you may just about enjoy this cinematic con. Otherwise, keep a safe distance.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality, drugs 16.Apr.14

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