Lazy filmmaking undermines this sparky caper thriller, from paper-thin characters and convenient plot points to limp direction and corny editing. This is a real shame, because the bright rising-star cast brings real energy to the weak material. So audiences who can switch off their brains might have some fun watching this fast-paced romp. But everyone else should be wary.
It opens in Britain, where economics student Sam (Ed Speleers) is running an elaborate credit card scam with classmates Fordy, Yatesey and Rafa (Will Poulter, Alfie Allen and Sebastian De Souza). But when local gangster Marcel (Thomas Kretchmann) discovers their operation, he demands a £2m payoff to let them go. So Sam secretly manipulates his new girlfriend Frankie (Emma Rigby), who happens to work for a credit security firm, into getting them the key information they can use to stage a series of high-stakes cons in Miami. And when this plan falls apart, they decide to launch an elaborate sting to rob £20m of diamonds and set themselves up for life.
The premise isn't bad, but the script is packed with coincidental things that make it utterly impossible to believe. Frankie's job is one of these, as is the fact that Rafa looks just like the Prince of Brunei. And of course, since the plot needs some third-act suspense, Yatesey suddenly turns out to be a careless idiot. None of these things make any sense, leaving everything about the film feeling gratuitous, including the sunshiny beauty of the Miami Beach setting and the presence of inexpressive actress Rigby. Plastic, indeed.
That said, the four leads have great screen presence. Even though they're all hapless morons, they're easy to engage with. Only Speleers and Allen get any depth to play with, as their characters at least make moral decisions; Poulter and De Souza are essentially along to provide comic relief, and do that very nicely. Meanwhile, Kretschmann adds some badly needed gravitas as the genuinely ruthless villain of the piece. So while the film looks good enough to be just about watchable, it's impossible to sit through it without feeling like we're being conned.
Run time: 102 mins
In Theaters: Friday 26th September 2014
Distributed by: Arc Entertainment
Production compaines: Gateway Films
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 22
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Julian Gilbey
Screenwriter: Julian Gilbey, Will Gilbey, Chris Howard