The Con Is On Blu-ray Review

Tim Roth and Uma Thurman Enjoy A Laugh Together

You know something is up when a film was finished three years ago in 2015 and is only now getting released. The Con Is On is a curious caper film with a star-laden cast, led by Uma Thurman and Tim Roth. This is one case where you can’t judge the book by its cover. Director James Oakley, mysteriously using an alias James Haslam for his directorial and co-writing credit, has made a loose, disjointed “comedy” that all too often indulges its star cast’s whims without a payoff. In some markets the film is also known by The Brits Are Coming.

The rest of the cast includes names such as Alice Eve, Maggie Q, Sofia Vergara, Crispin Glover and Parker Posey. This is a loaded ensemble that wasn’t cheap. It’s clear the producers thought they had hit a homerun in the casting department, securing a cadre of talented actors and big names. What’s amazing is how the script largely squanders the cast in a series of increasingly ridiculous scenes. Throwing a bunch of stars together is almost always a waste of time unless there is a good enough story to tell for their characters.

Knowing that its story is a mess, the movie reaches for anything it can, from sexy to funny to the outrageous. There is actually a little momentum in the beginning which comes from its slick production values and hipper-than-thou attitude. Only as the movie clips along do you realize the emperor has no clothes. What happens when satire falls flat? It gets tougher and tougher to keep watching.

Uma Thurman isn’t bad herself, clearly enjoying hamming it up as a deliciously laid-back con artist

The silly plot is an excuse to throw the characters together in random collisions, hoping to find some magic when stars like Uma Thurman play off actresses like Alice Eve and Sofia Vergara. Two British con artists, a married couple, land in L.A. on the run and looking for a quick way to make some fast money. Peter Fox (Tim Roth) and Harriet Fox (Uma Thurman) hatch a scheme to steal a valuable jewel from Peter’s ex-wife (Alice Eve) in L.A. Harriet “Harry” Fox owes a sizable debt to Irina (Maggie Q) and now the gangster wants her money back. Wacky shenanigans supposedly unfold as Peter and Harry attempt their con on Alice and her strange husband.

If there is any reason to watch The Con Is On, it’s for Tim Roth’s flippantly understated performance. Most of the enjoyable humor comes from his wry lines as an observer of the inane caper madness unfolding. Uma Thurman isn’t bad herself, clearly enjoying hamming it up as a deliciously laid-back con artist. It’s vaguely reminiscent of prior performances, recalling some of her Kill Bill days. Most everything else either doesn’t work or tries too hard for laughs. The supporting cast members try their college best but the slap-dash writing turns their predictable characters into one-note performances.

I really wanted to like The Con Is On since this cast has done so much good work in the past and usually elevates the material they are given. But ill-conceived characters and a meandering plot make it a miss.

Video

The Con Is On may not be a great comedy, but the movie sure looks pretty on Blu-ray. Lionsgate places the 95-minute main feature on a BD-25, encoded in pristine AVC. Filmed with the Arri Alexa digital camera, the 2.39:1 presentation breathes with impressive definition and clarity. Its 1080P resolution avoids significant post-processing, revealing intricate detail and razor-sharp textures in close-ups. Mostly set in opulent homes and settings, there is a wealth of eye candy.

Struck from the movie’s 2K digital intermediate, this film transfer has a consistently rich color palette with lively flesh-tones. The digital color grading has decent black levels and an even, steady contrast. Shot with only a smidgen of VFX, The Con Is On has a clean presentation free of artifacts and other flaws.

Audio

The comedy has a dialogue-driven soundtrack, heard in adequate 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio. The orchestral score and music has fairly nice dynamic range with a hint of immersion, albeit the surround mix is largely restrained to the front channels. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and always intelligible.

Optional English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles play in a white font, inside the scope presentation at all times.

Extras

A slipcover is available with first pressings of the Blu-ray. An UltraViolet digital copy, redeemable in HDX on VUDU, is included. Knowing a turkey when they see one, the lack of special features from Lionsgate is telling.

The Con Is On Trailer (02:11 in HD)

Lionsgate Trailers (09:36 in HD) – Bent, Overboard, Casual Encounters, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, She’s Funny That Way

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The unaltered images below are taken directly from the Blu-ray. For an additional 10 The Con Is On screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 12,000+ already in our library), exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.