By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
From writer/director Michael Winterbottom, comes this sharp satire that takes aim at the wealthy and their excessive lifestyles. Though Greed is absolutely spot-on when it comes to social commentary, it just does not have an equal level of humor to adequately lampoon its intended targets. To its benefit, the movie does have a fantastic cast, but simply needed better written and executed comedy to really skewer and roast the wealthy one percent.
Steve Coogan stars as Sir Richard McCreadie, a British self-made clothing magnate under much public and governmental scrutiny for his business practices. As a distraction from the recent nasty publicity, McCreadie has decided to host a ludicrously massive and over-indulgent party in Mykonos, Greece to celebrate his 60th birthday. As McCreadie, his family, and staff struggle to prepare for the event, the movie flashes back to key moments in his life and career and establishes how the self-serving and unethical businessman got to this point in his life.
Now, for me to say that the movie isn’t at all funny would be a falsehood, because the film does have its genuinely amusing moments. I just feel that Winterbottom struggled with balancing the social commentary and all of its all-too-real nastiness with the more cartoonish aspects of the movie. His heavy-handed approach in the delivery of his messages usually overshadows the comedic material. Which is a shame, given how talented Coogan and some of his co-stars are when it comes to comedy.
Still, Coogan takes his character by the horns and soars pretty high despite the limitations of the writing. His formidable presence and gift for improvisation is always a joy to behold. It is also a lot of fun to see Isla Fisher play in this setting as Richard’s ex-wife and mother of his children Samantha McCreadie. As their daughter and reality TV star Lily McCreadie, Sophie Cookson also gives some great contibutions to the comedy in the film. The movie also offers enjoyable performances by Shirley Henderson, David Mitchell, Ollie Locke, and Asa Butterfield.
After I very much enjoyed Winterbottom and Coogan’s collaborations on The Trip series, I am a bit disappointed that this new project didn’t yield the same level of greatness. I still moderately recommend Greed for at least a one time viewing, but I would not recommend spending top dollar prices at the cinema to do so.