Adapted from an old French farce but played in a way that is quintessentially British, Wild Target probably shouldn’t work given the two differing comedy styles it blends together. While this fusion isn’t entirely pitch perfect, for the most part it succeeds in being a funny and entertaining black comedy.
Most of this can be put down to clever casting. Bill Nighy continues to be a consistent comic performer, this time in a role that sees him getting laughs with more deadpan material. Opposite him, Emily Blunt seems born to the role of light-hearted love interest that’s precocious and mischievous, cutting through some of the stuffier elements.
Featuring a plot that is too oddball and frothy to add up to anything significant, Target is still able to string together enough gags and one liners to draw laughs. The thriller portions are less successful for the same reason, however, and there’s also the issue of Nighy and Blunt’s relationship shifting from that of surrogate father-daughter to romantic subplot, which gets more weirdly unsettling the more you think about it.
That’s probably the key to enjoying this movie. Many people will see the French and British heritage as a sign that it’s a ‘smart’ comedy. It isn’t – it’s mindless entertainment in a refined style.