Ben Elton has done some great stuff in his time, co-writing some of the best comedy TV series ever made (“Black Adder”, “The Young Ones”) to doing his own unique style of comedy – his 10 minute monologue on the mating habits of the sperm whale is one of the most hilarious standup pieces ever done.
That said here comes his latest film which is pretty, well average sadly. Its a very mainstream film but while other comedies such as “Four Weddings” and “Notting Hill” had their own unique charm, this one sadly doesn’t spark but nevertheless has some moments where it proves highly enjoyable.
The standout element of the movie is the cast. As much as I admire Hugh Laurie, he feels a little out of place here – a bit too self confident for the character which is only a so-so character in the first place. Joely Richardson, what can I say but Hubba Hubba!!! – she looks HOT, and acts pretty well too.
It’s the supporting roles however that you’ll remember, with most of the alumni of Brit comedy making cameos – Joanna Lumley as a power lesbian magazine editor, Dawn French as a way too cheerful nurse and Emma Thompson as a wacky spiritual woman.
It’s the guys though that leave the impression with Rowan Atkinson doing an unforgettable routine as the world’s scariest gynecologist, while Tom Hollander is bound to get lots of job offers after people seem him in his part here – playing the edgy and very abrasive Scottish film Director Ewan “God I hate the English!” Proclaimer.
The jokes are hit and miss, some work to great effect while others don’t. Masturbation and sex jokes are fine at first but can quickly become monotonous, especially when done in this polite way (though there is a lubricant joke involving a bike that’s drop dead funny). Its very British mainstream, which is edgier than most US mainstream comedies, but then toward the end it changes gear into something darker.
The filmmakers seemed to realise they weren’t establishing the originality as much as they should’ve and so the last 20 minutes feels like an entirely different movie. The change is so sudden and jarring that it pulls one out of the story and you see the trite Hollywood-happy ending for what it really is. This feels like a TV movie of the week, complete with soap opera like cheesiness at times. Its the performances that make this worth seeing, otherwise forget it.