You would have thought that an essential prerequisite for any given comedy is to actually make its audiences laugh or perhaps at least attempt to. Sadly for the makers of Gringo, this little detail seems to have either escaped them, or perhaps they simply didn’t care enough to even try.
With an impressive cast list ranging from the likes of David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron, Gringo had huge potential which was sadly squandered on a disappointingly predictable, overlong and decidedly overcrowded story which, to be blunt, over-stays its welcome by at a least half an hour.
Directed by former stuntman and brother of Joel, Nash Edgerton, Gringo tells the story of Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) a mild-mannered pharmaceutical firm employee who finds himself embroiled with the boss of a Mexican drug cartel, and at the mercy of his duplicitous bosses Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Elaine (Chalize Theron).
Drowning in debt due to his wife’s penchant for overspending, Nigerian born Harold is dismayed after hearing from a friend that the firm he works for is about to be merged with a bigger company without any guarantee that he might be able to keep his job. Having his suspicions confirmed to him on a business trip with Richard and Elaine in Mexico, Harold decides to fake his own kidnapping and pocket the substantial insurance money offered by the firm. However things get slightly more complicated when the violent boss of a local drug cartel orders his henchmen to kidnap the hapless businessman and hold him as a bargaining chip with the American firm.
To add to an already overcrowded storyline, the writers, for whatever reason, decided to introduce Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway as a young couple who find themselves involved in Harold’s fake kidnapping story, a subplot which only results in complicating thing even further, and not in a good way.
On the whole, Gringo suffers greatly from a failure to stick to just one thread and is ultimately let down by its inability to offer a coherent enough storyline. Oyelowo et al do their best with a weak script which suffers from some insurmountable pace issues and dialogue which, quite frankly, only serves in infuriating those who were already bored by the frankly idiotic storyline. In the end, even the best actors working in Hollywood right now are unable to rescue this alleged comedy from being one of the biggest turkeys of the year. Week, boring and overlong.
Gringo is in cinemas from Friday 9th of March