Breaking the Bank | Kelsey Grammer's bumbling British toff can't save this flimsy financial comedy

Breaking the Bank Kelsey Grammer Tamsin Greig John Michael Higgins
(Image credit: © Universal Studios)
(Image credit: © Universal Studios)

Banking on folly.

In a curious casting stroke, Frasier legend Kelsey Grammer plays a bumbling English toff in flimsy high-finance comedy Breaking the Bank. He’s the head of a venerable British bank that has been in the family of haughty wife Tamsin Greig for 200-hundred years. Until, that is, his blithe incompetence puts it under threat from predatory American and Japanese investors.

Grammer’s benign nincompoop is fitfully amusing, but Matthew Horne’s red-braces-wearing City trader and John Michael Higgins’ sharkish corporate raider provide less comic sparkle, while the whole movie feels hopelessly dated, a throwback to 1980s Wall Street comedies (such as The Secret of My Success) rather than a match for the sharp satire of The Big Short (opens in new tab).

Certificate 12A. Runtime 103 mins. Director Vadim Jean

Breaking the Bank debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Sunday 23 July. Available on DVD from Universal Pictures UK.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.