As an offshoot of the anti-hero paradigm, the crim-as-good-guy is a relatively recent development.
I once owned a camera that I had saved up for stolen, so I am less willing to hold thieves dear to my heart, but seeing as how it’s so fashionable to be bad I don’t want to sound too churlish. Suave and hip Nicky (Will Smith), and sexy, sophisticated Jess (Margot Robbie) casually pass the days swanning around swank resorts and exclusive bars in designer gear.
With their network of scammers, they have a high old time of it by pinching punters’ wallets, handbags and credit cards (the next time some low-life rips you off, instead of being angry, try to be grateful that you have contributed to their trip to Bali). At the conclusion of a million-dollar operation, Nicky discards Jess when she becomes surplus to requirements – but he has made the fatal mistake of falling in love with her.
We jump to Buenos Aries a few years later where he has somehow smarmed his way into the entourage of Garrigo (Rodrigo Santoro), a leading driver on the Grand Prix circuit. Rodrigo hatches a plan to give false technical information to his opponents, and he will pay Nicky a heap of money to help him do it. But who do you reckon turns up to throw Nicky off stride?
Jess is at the beautiful-people-only pre-race soiree and, as they say in Screenwriting 101, things get complicated. My personal preference in flicks such as this is for the story to be, if not rock-solid believable, at least in the realms of possibility. When the plot points and coincidences go beyond what is credible, it just gets silly.
Such is the case here. Smith is a very likeable actor, able to walk the pimp roll and talk the hipster jive without making you feel so daggy; Robbie is easy on the eye and the mindless glossy escapism is fair enough, but the best thing about the movie is that you don’t have to endure any screeching Formula One racing.
~ John Campbell