If you haven't had much practice rolling your eyes lately Guy Ritchie's new movie The Gentlemen is here to help.

If Guy Ritchie movies had a smell, some wit remarked, they would smell like Axe body spray. But if they were a club they would be a posh one with dark oak paneling and a huge Members Only sign and you couldn't get into them. 

That's the unresolvable paradox of Ritchie's weird films, they look populist but they're made by a sort of landed country squire with an attitude to match. Just ask Madonna about it.

When she fancied becoming a horse riding Lady of the Manor back in the early 00's she soon discovered that there's only one way to join the English upper classes, so being born in Detroit was absolutely the wrong move.

But girls, as everyone knows, ruin everything so hows about we start Guy Ritchie's latest silly caper The Gentlemen by cutting as many of them out the film as we can? Then, to underline that girls just spell cooties, why not call the film The Gentlemen? You can't really make the point clearer than that, can you?

We live in an age where, to feel like they are being noticed and that they still matter, some very rich very insecure men are harkening back to a much crueler era where the casual racism, sexism and homophobia their grandfathers remember with such fondness used to be the rule, not the exception. 

In those far off days women, if they appeared in films like this at all, were usually cast as trophy wives or stylish girlfriends with high cheek bones and higher Manolo Blahnik's who didn't ask too many questions and who looked fantastic in the short scenes where they would simply parrot the wishes of the male hero.

In The Gentlemen the gorgeous female throwback role is played by Michelle Dockery (best known as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey). It's a pleasure to watch her working for in her own South London accent for a change but the pleasure is quickly undercut by the fact that she's really just been cast as a bit of expensive property, a thing for the bad guys to menace when they want to take out her husband the king pin gangster.

Michelle Dockerry and Matthew McConaughey in The Gentlemen

Michelle Dockerry and Matthew McConaughey in The Gentlemen

Actress Kate Beckinsale was originally cast in Dockery's underwritten role but she dropped out of the film two days into shooting, possibly when she noticed there were no other actresses on set in a film that seems to have a cast of hundreds.

People of course talk all the time about how the working class envy all the loaded toffs but Ritchie's films remind us that the loaded toff's often envy the virility and prejudices of the working class male too. So The Gentlemen is often an intentionally and more often unintentionally homoerotic homage to all the lively bits of rough that populate Richtie's most famous films. 

The Gentlemen also has some fascinating casting against type. Hugh Grant is cast as a grubby gutter press lowlife who is trying to blackmail Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) one of England's most minted gangsters. That means Grant trades in his plummy real life accent for an evenin' guv'nor Cockney one, and how much you want to believe in it depends on how invested you get in this very silly film.

Meanwhile, this being a Guy Ritchie movie, McConaughey's character isn't just a blow-in American street tough, he's a clever bit of rough that somehow became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a place where he noticed that he could make serious bank by selling weed to the upper class twits in his own college, starting him off on his very violent and improbable rise to become the biggest drug dealer in England. 

Matthew McConaughey and Colin Farrell star in The Gentlemen

Matthew McConaughey and Colin Farrell star in The Gentlemen

Look, all of this utter nonsense unravels if you look too closely at it, so maybe don't look closely the film asks us. It's entertainment, just be entertained. It's not trying to be Citizen Kane, you know?

The story is simple enough, God knows. Pearson (McConaughey) has decided there's more to life than money, fast cars, bespoke suits and casually killing people. He's getting older now and he'd like to spend more time with his clothes horse wife and no kids. 

So Pearson decides that he wants to sell his drugs lord business. But of course he's really looking at retirement gangster style, which means that all his rivals start hatching plots to take his network and his life.

It all kicks off with a bunch of low level hoods trained by a character called Coach (Colin Farrell). Playing in his own Dublin accent, or to be more precise in the much rawer accent from across the Liffey in Dublin 1, Farrell plays an unexplained track suit wearing Irish gangster who has taught his mostly men of color street thugs everything they know, in the style of Robin Hood.

Unbeknownst to Coach however his spirited lads have hatched a side plot to get the main plot rolling, where they invade one of Pearson's hidden marijuana factories and film a beautifully edited gangster rap break dancing video as they do so.

What are you groaning about? Don't all working class men of color make gangster rap break dancing videos featuring their sick moves as they also violently roll a big drugs factory? Or could it be that this is just the kind of thing that happens in the interior life of 52 year old white teenage boys who love rap music and never grew up? You decide.

Matthew McConaughey in The Gentlemen

Matthew McConaughey in The Gentlemen

If you haven't had much practice eye rolling lately The Gentlemen is here to help. It features a conniving, backstabbing Jewish man, an inscrutable double dealing Asian man, an untrustworthy, conflicted gay man and more racist and homophobic set ups per half hour than you could shake a Mein Kampf at.

These days it shocks audience goers to see so many un-politically correct stock characters performing such un-politically stock character roles, unless you count all the films of Tarantino, McDonagh, Eastwood, Bay, Stallone and so on. 

All the vacuous laughter you will hear in the cinema when someone Jewish or Asian or Black or Gay is played for laughs in The Gentlemen is completely intentional. These are not people, they're just cliched plot points. Although he's charisma personified, Farrell himself gets lost in all the thickening nonsense.

But wait, it is truly disgusting when a conniving Jewish villain is assured that a pound of flesh will be extracted from him in revenge for his treachery, echoing the phrase from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. At this point the film passes from a truly silly lads caper to something far more risible. 

Hugh Grant plays a gutter press journo on the make in The Gentlemen

Hugh Grant plays a gutter press journo on the make in The Gentlemen

But because this is just a sort of Carry On Flexing film made just for Ritchie and his muscly mates, it probably doesn't do to get too into the wherefore's or the why's of it, because they like crime and that's about the height of it. 

Look, they've all been flexing their major appendages for decades in boy's own criminal fantasy rock and rap adventures and they'll be doing it until they fall off, I imagine.

Like his ill-fated relationship with Madonna long ago, Ritchie may admire the steely determination of working class people as they struggle hard to get on in real life, but when it comes to actual relationships with them he'd rather take their money and bolt the door.

So there are no real gentlemen in The Gentlemen, there's only a bunch of playacting lads. This is a film made by and for them. 

The Gentlemen opens January 25.

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