Bless me Father for I have sinned – I wasted the price of a bottle of wine and an hour and half of my life on this.
Explanations out of the way first. This is not a film I would normally contemplate going to see as I am, to put it mildly, not a fan of the television series which spawned this movie. However, I was actively encouraged to defy my better judgement (evidence here) by the people at New Zealand’s Rancho Notorious film podcast. Not one to spurn a challenge, I duly took my seat and waited with as much of an open mind as I could muster.
I should also whole-heartedly acknowledge that this is a massively successful, BAFTA Award-winning television show which many people enjoy, which is presumably why it hit the top of the UK box office in its first week of release.
So the best thing I can say about it is that I didn’t find it as offensive as the slices of the television programme I have seen, and it was only 96 minutes long.
But please … the stereotypes … it was like disappearing back into the 1970s. ‘Salt of the earth’ market traders, token characters from ethnic minorities to poke fun at, an Irish man playing a Chinese man by narrowing his eyes and putting on a funny accent – oh, and that open-mouthed wink to camera. Why is all this funny?
The television series is filmed in front of a live studio audience (as the saying goes), and I understand that ‘out-takes’ are left in, as the audience reaction is part of the ‘fun’. But in a film, leaving out-takes in and showing actors corpsing is annoying at best, and on occasion, confusing. The actors were clearly having more fun that even the most devoted fans in the cinema, and surely that’s the wrong way round?
There were around a dozen people at the screening with me who, to be fair, did chuckle quietly at various points. Mostly where a man dressed as an Irish Mammy said ‘w*nk’ and ‘gobble’ while speaking to a barrister with Tourette’s. The parade of ‘lovable rogues’ was irritating and predictable, and in all honesty, I think this film makes Irish people look stupid.
Apparently, there’s a sequel in the making.
One of the trailers before this film started was for the live broadcast of the Monty Python reunion show. If you want a masterclass in 1970s style comedy, that’s what you should be watching.