4 out of 10

Director: Jamie Adams

Cast: Craig Roberts, Charlotte Ritchie, Dolly Wells, Rosamund Hanson, Keiron Self, Gary Knowles, Ian Smith, Laura Patch and Nick Mohammed

Writer: Jamie Adams


UnknownTO BE PROOFREAD: I usually like the ‘comedy of cringe’ but the humour and performances in Benny & Jolene felt forced to me.  A hipster take on This Is Spinal Tap, Benny & Jolene bring a zero amount of freshness to what must be an industry full of things to lampoon. Two other recent films about the British music industry are better; the first Svengali took the route of oblivoid on a mission to make his band succeed inspite of himself – and it was fairly enjoyable but not as good as You Instead – a semi-improvised yarn set at a rock-festival.  Benny & Jolene is packed full of comedy performers from ‘hip’ TV shows but  the whole thing fails to gel.

My problem is with the leads who are too weird to engage the emotions. We’re supposed to identify with these cretinous self-obsessed bell ends who are too young and inexperienced to be able to have any influence on their journey to fame via a UK record label. Charlotte Ritchie‘s (FRESH MEAT) ‘cooky’ Jolene is just a bag of annoying ticks with her bad David Brent impression and Craig Roberts (22 JUMP STREET) as Benny channels nerd to better effect but in a film of ‘moments’ in which actors are permanently trying to out weird / funny each other it just irritates rather than engage the emotions or entertain.

The plot follows up and coming ‘Folk’ duo Benny & Jolene as they get a record deal. They get sent on a ‘pre-pre-pre release tour’ to a festival in Wales that includes a meeting with a stadium boss who has no idea they’ll never fill a stadium, a record shop signing and a weird photo shoot.  Needless to say, nobody organising the trip has really organised a thing and on the whole film rambles. And maybe there’s more to Benny & Jolene’s platonic relationship. Well of course there is, this is supposed to be cooky and well as hipper than thou.

Sadly it’s a bit of an unfunny way to spend 90 minutes when the makers clearly worked hard on perfecting the ‘cringe’ method of humour, but it all rings hollow giving those that pull it off successfully further kudos. Or maybe it’s time to pull the plug on the self-irony and get on with making us laugh at things that are ‘really funny once more.

4 out of 10 – Mediocre comedy that is too cool to bother being funny.  Whatever.


  • Craig Roberts: Kill Your Friends, Just Jim, Bad Neighbours, The Double (2014)Comes a Bright Day, Red Lights, Jane Eyre (2011), Submarine
  • Charlotte Ritchie: Call The Midwife (TV), Fresh Meat (TV)
  • Dolly Wells: Black Mountain Poets, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 45 Years, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (TV), Dolly & Em (TV), Some Girls (TV), Spy (TV), Morvern Callar
  • Rosamund Hanson: This Is England ’90 (TV), We Are The Freaks, Life’s Too Short (TV), This Is England ’88 (TV), This Is England ’86 (TV), This Is England
  • Gary Knowles: Silent Night Bloody Night (2013)
  • Keiron Self: My Family (TV)
  • Laura Patch: Animals (2003)

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