Here’s something fun you can do. Go on YouTube and find your favorite Hollywood A-List actor or actress and see if they did a commercial overseas. More often than not, they’re selling a product they would never use, they did something incredibly silly and embarrassing, and they were paid a poop-load of money to do it. The best part…until now…is they never thought anyone in the states would see it.
Let’s expand this idea to film and television. Andy Samberg does a season of British television in Cuckoo, Jeremy Piven in Mr. Selfridge, and for something silly Chloe Grace Moretz in an episode of the Korean SNL. Why go overseas? I would venture to guess it’s good money, an extended stay in a foreign country, and maybe it will never be seen in the U.S. What if that film succeeds locally? It’s already made money, so why not go-for-gold and release it in the U.S.?
I suspect that’s what happened with Hadi Hajaig’s Blue Iguana starring Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz. It’s a fish out of water film. Rockwell and Schwartz are the fish and the water is British comedy in general.
“…wants to hire them to interrupt the clandestine purchase of a mysterious package and steal the package.”
Rockwell and Schwartz play Eddie and Paul. Eddie is a street-smart ex-con, who lives life solely on his wits. Paul is a street-smart wannabe filmmaker. Both currently working out their parole in a small New York diner. In walks English lawyer Katherine (Phoebe Fox) with a job for the duo. She represents an English mobster, Arkady (Peter Polycarpou), who wants to hire them to interrupt the clandestine purchase of a mysterious package and steal the package.
Haggling over the final price, the pair take the job and we’re off to the races. As things go with heist stories, nothing ever goes to plan and thanks to a steady stream of doublecrosses our heroes find themselves in life-threatening trouble.
What kind of trouble? First, Arkady’s hired muscle in the form of Deacon Bradshaw (Peter Ferdinando) has decided to double-cross Arkady and blame Eddie and Paul for the double-cross. Katherine, who is already in Arkady’s debt is to blame for the inept American’s she hired. Then there’s the reason for the heist in the first place, which leads to another bigger heist, which serves as motivation for the really big double cross. I could go into detail about this, but I’m so confused.
And the final complication. Katherine is desperate to be released from Arkady’s debt she places herself back in debt to spare of the life of Eddie and Paul. Although, I think there’s a little spark between Katherine and Eddie.
“Rockwell and Schwartz are basically doing their version of a Hope-and-Crosby road film…”
A heist, a complicated romance, and a few double crosses make Blue Iguana a reason for Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz to star in a British film and do their thing. Rockwell is the smooth-talking bad boy with a heart. Schwartz with the lovable sidekick with a special set of geeky skills and an intense fear of dying. Are they good enough to carry this film? Sort of. Sam Rockwell can do no wrong in the fast-paced action-caper genre and fans will love his performance. Ben Schwartz, on the other hand, holds his own portraying a decidedly different contrast to Rockwell. His performance is meant to be a little quirky as the hapless criminal. He’s fun to watch and never annoying.
Blue Iguana is decidedly a British comedy. The premise of every joke is more amusing concepts than laugh-out-loud moments of hilarity. The laughs come from silliness juxtaposed against the proper. Rockwell and Schwartz are basically doing their version of a Hope-and-Crosby road film. They play characters very familiar to an American audience and that is played against a British comedic landscape. The result it interesting to watch, but I think more for the Brits than its American counterparts.
There’s really nothing groundbreaking in Blue Iguana. Rockwell’s Eddie takes a moment to learn the Cockney accent and rhymes from Katherine. Schwartz’s Paul flirts with the older bar owner, Dawn (Amanda Donohoe). The uptight lawyer Katherine with her hair placed in a tight bun, let’s it loose into a hot-version of uptight Katherine. If you like British comedy that features American guest stars, then you’ll like Blue Iguana and it’s 118 minutes of silliness. It gets a recommendation for Rockwell and Schwartz’s performance alone.
Blue Iguana (2018) Written and directed by Hadi Hajaig. Starring Sam Rockwell, Ban Schwartz, Phoebe Fox, Amanda Donohoe, Peter Ferdinando, Peter Polycarpou.
6 out of 10 stars