When you work for a narcissistic and obnoxious multi-millionaire (with a Monet obsession) as an art curator the act of revenge seems simple. Get an expert forger to paint a copy of the desired piece (Haystacks at Dusk), and con him into buying it. You then resign and walk away an incredibly satisfied millionaire. Simple? Well that’s how Harry Deane (Colin Firth) would like to see the world, but reality is never in his favour it would seem.
Stage one of the master plan requires the recruitment of Texan rodeo queen; PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz). Deane and his forger, The Major (Tom Courtenay), make their way from Britain to Texas, but getting Puznoski onboard proves difficult and Deane ends up on the street with a solid shade of purple to the eye. Eventually the trio agree on the terms and the second part of the plan can be set in motion.
However, one obstacle after the next interferes with Deane’s plan. He did not account for Lord Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman) not playing ball, the mass expense that the eccentric Puznowski would exploit and the unconventional wild life Shabandar keeps as security. All this makes success seem moot.
The basic plot is very predictable, with only a few quirks along the way. Even though this re-write of the 1966 original was done by the Coen brothers, it fails to prove worthwhile. Fans of the Coen’s work will be disappointed. Perhaps only they know how to bring to life what they have set to paper. The subtleties that the rothers always so cleverly incorporate into the script can easily be lost if direction fails to emphasize them.
It is understandable why the re-make of this film has been rejected for so long. Even with the star cast, you fail to see it as anything more than mildly amusing.