Review: GREED

“Greed” is an ironically shallow satire about shallow people. The film’s uneven tone undercuts the biting satirical elements. This is a movie meant to raise awareness, but the apparent message is too blunt to be effective.

The collaboration of prolific director Michael Winterbottom and actor Steve Coogan has produced memorable cinema over the years. Back in 2002, the two worked together on the fun and insightful “24 Hour Party People.” More recently, their combined efforts struck gold with “The Trip” series, the latest of which, “The Trip to Greece,” is scheduled to be released later this year.

“Greed” has Coogan stepping in for Sasha Baron Cohen on this project to play Sir Richard McCreadie. A ruthless billionaire, McCreadie has been dubbed “Greedy McCreadie,” as his rise in the fast-fashion industry was mostly on the back of underpaid Third World workers. And after years of making his distinctive and divisive mark in the business world, McCreadie decides to throw himself an expensive 60th birthday party on the Greek island Mykonos.

Steve Coogan steps in for Sacha Baron Cohen to play Greedy McCreadie.

The party’s modeled after his favorite movie, 2000’s “Gladiator.” He has a coliseum built, the partiers are to adopt period dress (he will look like an emperor), and the “help” will be slaves. Oh, and he’s even flown in an actual lion to put the authentic edge on the gladiator games.

Part of the preparations for the part involves his personal biographer, Nick (“Peep Show’s” David Mitchell), to visit with people from his past and collect birthday wishes on video. Nick learns about the man he’s writing about in the process. These recollections provide a chance for the viewer to learn about Greedy McCreadie, as well.

Read the rest of Jonathan’s review online and in print in the Times-Herald: