Blue Iguana review – deadpan wisecracking with MacGuffery galore

This middling crime comedy, starring Sam Rockwell, is overly pleased with itself but has colourful turns by an assortment of British character actors

For those few unfortunate souls who may have seen the painfully unfunny black comedy Mr Right, in which the always watchable Sam Rockwell starred as a lovable, semi-hunky hitman opposite Anna Kendrick, this film offers a traumatic trigger. Once again, Rockwell stars as a tough guy for hire – not a hitman, exactly, though he ends up killing lots and lots of people. This time he plays opposite up-and-coming actor Phoebe Fox (The Hollow Crown), who is also, like Kendrick was, a good actor trapped in a middling to poor film. And once again, it is a story seemingly meant to be funny but only fitfully successful in this mission, and way too pleased with its own brand of deadpan wisecracking.

Rockwell’s Eddie is an ex-con working in a diner in New York City with his comrade-in-crime Paul (Ben Schwartz, one of the movie’s brighter spots) when an English lawyer (Fox, sporting an up-do and glasses you just know are going to come off to reveal a hot babe by the end) walks through the door and offers them a job stealing a satchel full of MacGuffery in London. Naturally, it all goes wrong, and the principals end up in a scruffy-glam loft space spying on a pub full of thugs across the street.

An assortment of interesting British character actors drop by to contribute colourful turns, some better than others. For instance, it’s always a treat to see arthouse siren of the 1980s Amanda Donohoe (Castaway) out and about, although one rather wishes she didn’t have to settle for the role of a Cockney hag, fake-leopard fur and all. Somewhat more successful is the offering from Simon Callow as a kindly uncle reporting the cuss-rich dialogue of the bad guys in a plummy voice. Indeed, there are enough well-landed gags to keep one entertained, but this feels like a film destined to be buried on Netflix after a brief career as in-flight entertainment.


Leslie Felperin

The GuardianTramp

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