March 14, 2018

Gringo: Naive Hero Is Abandoned by Boss in Mexico in Madcap Comedy

By Kam Williams

Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) is a loyal employee at Promethium Pharmaceuticals who has been patiently waiting for his chance to share in the success from the company’s lucrative sales of medical marijuana in a pill form. Unfortunately, the naive Nigerian immigrant is unaware that the Chicago-based company’s CEO, Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton), has no intention of giving him a share of the profits.

Instead, Richard fills his head with promises of a lavish lifestyle like the ones he’s seen in rap videos. Furthermore, Harold has no idea that his boss is having an affair with his wife, Bonnie (Thandie Newton). In addition, Richard is in a relationship with his business partner, Elaine (Charlize Theron). 

The plot thickens when Harold flies with Richard and Elaine to Mexico to set up a factory. However, the real purpose of the trip is to break off relations with a powerful drug cartel that is run by the ruthless Juan Miguel Villegas (Carlos Corona).

Richard wants to stop selling pills on the black market and of course, Villegas is unhappy with this development, so it isn’t long before all hell breaks loose. When the dust settles, Richard and Elaine flee back to the states while Harold is calling company headquarters because he’s been kidnapped and held for a $5 million ransom.

Gringo is a madcap comedy directed by Nash Edgerton. who has assembled an impressive cast that includes his brother Joel, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (Monster), David Oyelowo, Thandie Newton, Sharlto Copley, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Ruck, and Paris Jackson.

Unfortunately, the film’s premise turns into an overplotted adventure with far too many characters and sidebars.

There’s never a dull moment, but there’s never a deep one either in this hyperbolic movie.

Very Good (**½). Rated R for sexuality, violence, and pervasive profanity. In English, Spanish, and French with subtitles. Running time: 110 minutes. Production Studios: Picrow/Denver and Delilah Productions/ Blue-Tongue Films. Distributor: Amazon Studios/STX Entertainment.