"even though this particular film is not perfect in all its aspects, a great cast ensemble and some really amusing jokes are able to create a light atmosphere and make the hour and forty five minutes fly by"
Written and directed by Vadim Jean, Breaking the Bank is a classic British comedy that, without taking itself too seriously, analyses how far a man is willing to go to win back the trust of his family.
After 200 years of successfully building relationships with their clients, the small family-run Tuftons Bank, guided by the inexperienced and incompetent chairman Sir Charles Bunbury, is headed towards bankruptcy because of some really misguided investments. Ready to pick up the pieces and to convince Penelope Tuftons, legitimate heir of the bank, to sell her shareholdings, it's Richard Grindings, an American Investment Banker that wants to acquire Tuftons for his own benefits.
After being publicly humiliated and cast away from the bank and his family, Sir Charles Bunbury, tries everything in his power to uncover the truth behind his bad investment and to discover who plotted against him by allying themselves with Grindings.
With his anarchic daughter's help, along with the financial predictions of a homeless guy and one of his old employees, he will try to stop his wife Penelope from selling her shares and save Tuftons from being incorporated by the Americans.
Plot wise, Breaking the Bank it's not a movie that surprises; the story follows the same stereotype of many comedies: a man, who lost everything, tries his best to redeem himself and win back the love and respect of his family and colleagues.
However, what makes Breaking the Bank somehow different is the fact that the message of the film is hidden behind a serious and contemporary issue that is affecting the modern society in the past decade. By using the economic crisis as background for the story of these fictional characters, it becomes possible for the audience to connect more easily with them and be more invested in their story.
The cast ensemble was well balanced and their performances were harmonious throughout the movie. Kelsey Grammer and Tamsin Greig hold the film on their shoulders by understanding their characters perfectly and still being able to bring the right amount of comedy on the screen by over exaggerating their performances. In fact, both Sir Charles Bunbury and Penelope Tuftons are portrayed with an overly comedy aspect, almost becoming a parody of themselves in order to make the most serious scenes more light and hilarious.
The city of London, particularly the financial district, plays an important role in the film, the cinematography employs panoramic shots of London, almost to celebrate the beauty of the city and the contrast between old and new, as if the director wanted to highlight with the buildings the eternal fight between old and new, tradition and modernity.
Even though the comedy timing in most of the scenes is playful and entertaining, Breaking the Bank sometimes falls short in delivering that good classic comedy feeling that many British movies successfully achieved previously.
The film provides a good laugh every now and then, however, some of the story lines can be considered over the top or unnecessary to the flow of the main plot, making it clear that they are there just to distract the audience or add comic relief in between scenes.
All in all, even though this particular film is not perfect in all its aspects, a great cast ensemble and some really amusing jokes are able to create a light atmosphere and make the hour and forty five minutes fly by for the audience, while still teaching them a nice and valuable life's lesson.