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“GREED” Mesmerizingly Silly

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

A showcase for actor comedian Steve Coogan the movie GREED enters the crowding theater list and it’s actually pretty good if you like wacky comedy. What does save the film from imploding within however, is the drama part that takes the film up a notch. The screenplay about a narcissistic superficial new money big spender takes you into his world and makes greed look normal. From the looks of the production, this wannabe mainstream flick could just make itself some box office bucks in areas that enjoy British humor.

Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) has built himself an empire in the fashion business. No, not “the” fashion business like Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger or even Kenneth Cole, as this fast talking, low balling, price dealing fashionista deals in low cost off the rack clothing. That doesn’t mean retail’s a bad thing for his way of life, because it really only affects his ego about being in the league with big designers. Instead he buys up stores and stocks them by going to Sri Lanka to use a sweat shop that can make the clothing at half the price as his competitors. Some may call it entrepreneurial, but in his case it’s just Greed.

Steve Coogan as Sir Richard McCreadie in GREED from Sony Classics

But let’s not get ahead of the story as after all it’s just fiction, right? And it is a comedy, but with a lot of drama. You see, McCreadie has always been a less than fair man who takes advantage of the little guy and feels no harm done. Well this story tells it all right up to the outlandish party at his new home on the coast of Mykonos, Greece. Director and writer Michael Winterbottom shows the shyster McCreadie from his early days as a card shark to the top of the world with yachts, fine cars, and elaborate homes. And just when he’s finally done it all, well, he gets called before a Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into his dealings.

Steve Coogan as Sir Richard McCreadie and Isla Fisher as Samantha McCreadie in GREED from Sony Classics

The film is actually a lot of fun as a spoof on the fashion industry and a shot at the greed among thieves. But, in the end what goes around comes around. I actually like Steve Coogan in this role as he sort of fits the mold well and his flamboyance makes the his character funny and sarcastic enough to make it work. He’s the master of serious face comedy. As for Isla Fisher, she’s the perfect counterpart to Richard McCreadie as his wife Samantha who thinks he’s a genius. She feels he can do no wrong as she accepts a check from the company for 1.2 billion pounds as the ONLY stock holder.

The film is British perfect and much like most films coming out of the United Kingdom it’s cheeky and wacky in a good way. I like the characters who are big as life being proper and chipper as they talk about McCreadie’s dealings, Richard’s choice of design for his stores, and the many deals he makes while walking away.

A fashion show in GREED from Sony Classics

GREED has been rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language and brief drug use. There’s a lot of political incorrect if that matters and some off beat ethnic innuendos. There’s also a scene of violence that is pretty gory and a few suggestive sexual moments as well.

This writer’s Note: During the final credits the director and writer Michael Winterbottom puts up some statistics about the garment industry that are not to flattering for the clothing empire. Here is a closer look “80% of garment workers are women”, “9 out of 10 Billionaires are Men”, “Working conditions in Sri Lanka are among the BEST in the developing world”, “Nevertheless these women get paid 4 pounds a day making clothes for famous High Street Brands”, “The top 10 fashion brands made more than $18 billion profit in 2018”, “Women working for international brands in Bangladesh earn $2.84 for a 10 hour day”, “The top 10 international brands have a value of almost $150 Billion”, “Garment workers in Myanmar earn $3.60 per day working for leading international brands,” “Many celebrities endorse clothes made by women working for low wages in countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh”, “It is estimated that more than $30 trillion of wealth is kept in offshore tax havens like Monaco”, “Kareem (a refugee from Syria) arrived by boat in Lesvos on 16th of March 2016. He still lives in Greece”, “Greece is still hosting 75,000 refugees”, “It is estimated that more than 17,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean”, “The 26 richest people in the world own as much wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion”

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good tongue-in-cheek film that mesmerizes with silliness. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Shirley Henderson, David Mitchell, Asa Butterfield
Directed and written by: Michael Winterbottom
Genre: Comedy, Drama
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language and brief drug use
Running Time: 1 hr. 44 min
Opening Date: March 6, 2020
Distributed by: Sony Classics
Released in: theaters

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