“Hollyoaks meets Hustle” is what springs to mind as this glossy, crime caper – based on a true story – begins to reveal its twisting tale of twentysomething wheeler dealers.
The cocky quartet – leader Sam (Ed Speleers), troublemaker Yates (Alfie Allen), weak-kneed Rafa (Sebastian De Souza) and low-key fixer Fordy (Will Poulter) – scam credit cards by day and do shots by night.
And to show they’re good boys at heart, they even go for that whole Hustle “Robin Hood” schtick – “let the insurance company take the hit” they tell one mark before applying a baseball bat to his jaw, presumably as some kind of metaphor.
But this screen-friendly Britpack – like this movie – bites off way more than it can chew. The aforementioned victim is the accountant of a very nasty piece of work Marcel (Thomas Kretschmann).
He must be a very nasty piece of work because he has frequent reason to tell them – at great length and repeatedly – what a nasty piece of work he is. And if they should doubt his word, he has very nasty pantomime henchmen to punch home his nasty point.
So the gang of four – soon joined and amplified by Emma Rigby’s Frankie – have to pay for their wrongdoing and raise £2million in two weeks.
To the US we must go, they figure, where these young things can wear pastels or, in Rigby’s case, not much while director Julian Gilbey can add swish visuals to distract from the lamentable dialogue.
We’re now into Miami Vice meets The Inbetweeners Movie as the sun frazzles friendships, Sam and Yates lock horns over their pash for Frankie, secrets are laid bare and their scam falls apart in a strip club.
Now its Catch Me If You Can meets The Pink Panther and they’re forced into a long con involving a fake sheikh, a case of diamonds and a private jet.
Finally, to Blighty and the showdown, which involves all sorts of people with all sorts of guns. It is very much a Pulp Fiction meets Lock, Stock type of bloodbath.
It’s very glib and very trashy. Which is not to say the film, like its cast, does not have a certain swagger.