5 out of 10
Release Date: 14th April 2010
Director: Ricky Gervais (Life On The Road / Special Correspondents / Derek (TV) / Life’s Too Short (TV) / The Invention of Lying / Extras (TV) / The Office (TV)) & Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies – The Movie / Hello Ladies (TV) / Life’s Too Short (TV) / Extras (TV) / The Office (TV))
Cast: Christian Cooke, Felicity Jones, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Matthew Goode, Ricky Gervais, Julia Davis, Anne Reid, David Earl, Bryonny Hannah, Francis Magee, Steve Spiers, Burn Gorman, Stephen Merchant with Emily Watson and Ralph Fiennes
Writer: Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s (THE OFFICE)feature film debut is OK. It’s solidly plotted and contains a few stirring moments. The humour (as you’d expect is laddish) is occasionally sharp but on the whole, all the good jokes and one of the really unfunny ones are milked to death. It’s a shame that it plays such a straight game with the audience.
Set in 1973 in Reading, three mates; Bruce (TOM HUGHES – 8 MINUTES IDLE), Freddie (CHRISTIAN COOKE – ELECTRICITY) and Snork (JACK DOOLAN – GREEN STREET 3) waste their days in dead end jobs and dream of different things like travelling, high powered jobs and getting laid. When Freddie gets a job at local insurance firm The Vigilante he gets re-acquainted with his childhood sweetheart Julie (FELICITY JONES – LIKE CRAZY) who is the daughter of the boss (RALPH FIENNES – HAIL CAESAR) and the girlfriend of his new supervisor (MATTHEW GOODE – SELF/LESS). She’s a caged free-spirit who dreams of becoming a nature photographer. Freddie quickly notices that she’s doomed to become like her ghost-like mother, played by Emily Watson (EVEREST). Meanwhile, Bruce gets into scrapes and increasingly dangerous fight, whilst Snork fills tries to meet girls whilst the love of his life is sat right under his nose.
All the cast perform well in slim and underwritten roles and few of them develop beynd types. The film only really comes to life when Ricky Gervais, Sheila Reid (LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX) and JULIA DAVIS (FOUR LIONS) as Freddie’s family begin to have a hilarious session of put downs and bickering. Another scene at a winner’s ball function at the Vigilant is spookily accurate and telling. Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson and Matthew Goode can do this sort of thing in their sleep and they excel in small supporting roles. It’s just a shame that the plot is ploddingly predictable and plain.
The 1970s humour is a bit at odds with the rest of the content too with the main three calling each other benders every few minutes. It’s a bit old hat and unfunny. Shoddy period detail distracts as well, namely modern windows and patio doors. Also it’s not filmed with 100 miles of a town that looks like Reading. Ever been to Cemetery Junction? This film look slike it was made in Somerset.
5 out of 10 – Perfectly watchable but too predictable and not funny enough to be memorable. Filled with over-qualified actors caught marking time.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Christian Cooke: Electricity, Hello Carter, Love Rosie, Where The Heart Is (TV), Romeo & Juliet (2013)
- Felicity Jones: Star Wars – Rogue One, A Monster Calls, Collide, The Theory of Everything, Amazing Spider Man 2, The Invisible Woman, Breathe In, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding,Hysteria, Albatross, Like Crazy, Soulboy, The Tempest (2010), Chalet Girl, Cheri
- Tom Hughes: London Town, The Incident, 8 Minutes Idle, I Am Soldier, About Time, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll
- Jack Doolan: Rules of the Game, It’s a Lot, Green Street 3, The Facility, May I Kill U?, Cockneys Vs. Zombies, Demons Never Die,
- Matthew Goode: Pressure, Self/Less, The Imitation Game, Belle, Stoker, Watchmen, A Single Man, Leap Year, Brideshead Revisted, Imagine Me & You, Match Point
- Ricky Gervais: Life On The Road, Special Correspondents, Derek (TV), Night At The Museum 3, Muppets Most Wanted, Extras (TV), Life’s Too Short (TV), Night At The Museum 2, The Invention Of Lying, Night At The Museum, Stardust, Ghost Town, The Ricky Gervais Show (TV), For Your Consideration, The Office (TV),
- Julia Davis: Psychobitches (TV), Four Lions, Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, Confetti, Sex Lives Of The Potato Men, Love Actually, Big Train (TV)
- Anne Reid: Believe, Song For Marion, Last Tango In Halifax (TV), Faintheart, Wallace & Gromit In Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (voice), Hot Fuzz, The Mother, Love and Death On Long Island, Coronation Street (TV)
- David Earl: Derek (TV)
- Bryonny Hannah: Call The Midwife (TV), Bing (voice) (TV),
- Francis Magee: Blood Cells, Jimmy’s Hall, Good People, London River, The Crew, Layer Cake, The Sex Lives Of The Potato Men
- Steve Spiers: Stella (TV), Set Fire To The Stars, The Bad Education Movie, Hunky Dory, The Baby Juice Express, Extras (TV), Eragon, The Musketeer, Topsy Turvy
- Burn Gorman: Crimson Peak, Game of Thrones (TV), Alexander and the Terrible No Good Very Bad Day, Jimi, Pacific Rim, The Dark Knight Rises, Red Lights, Johnny English 2, The Oxford Murders, Torchwood (TV), Layer Cake
- Stephen Merchant: Table 19, Hello Ladies – The Movie, Hello Ladies (TV), I Give It a Year, Movie 43, Extras (TV), Hall Pass, Run Fatboy Run, Hot Fuzz
- Emily Watson: Molly Moon, Everest, A Royal Night Out, Testament of Youth, The Theory of Everything, The Book Thief, War Horse, Anna Karenina (2012), Oranges and Sunshine, Synedoche New York, Miss Potter, Seperate Lies, The Proposition, Corpse Bride (voice), Wah-Wah, The Life and Death Of Peter Sellers, Equilibrium, Red Dragon, Punch Drunk Love, Gosford Park, The Luzhin Defence, Angela’s Ashes, Cradle Will Rock, Hilary & Jackie, The Boxer, Metroland, Breaking The Waves
- Ralph Fiennes: The Flying Horse, A Bigger Splash, Hail Caesar, James Bond – Spectre, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Invisible Woman, Great Expectations (2012), James Bond – Skyfall, Wrath Of The Titans, Coriolanus, Harry Potter- parts 3-8, Clash Of The Titans (2010), Nanny McPhee 2, The Reader, The Hurt Locker, The Duchess, Chromophobia, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of The Were Rabbit (voice), Maid In Manhattan, Red Dragon, Spider, The End Of The Affair, Onegin, The Avengers (1998), Oscar & Lucinda, The English Patient, Strange Days, Quiz Show, Schindler’s List, The Baby Of Macon, Wuthering Heights (1992)