Funnier than expected, this remake of the 1979 comedy classic doesn’t exactly work in a rehash way but does have its own quirky charms with a broad and slightly above average level of laughs for the material.
Where it falls down though is that it can’t help but feel like it hasn’t even attempted to update itself with a contemporary touch (so yes the gags are quite dated), whilst the last half hour lacks the laughs of the first part.
So whilst the script does go for the obvious at every turn, it does keep the humour flying thick and fast with a colourful array of characters in major and supporting roles. Helping it along is Director Andrew Fleming, the man behind the again better-than-expected political satire “Dick”, who keeps a steady directing hand throughout and never delves into sentimentality or the too over-the-top ridiculous.
Albert Brooks yet again gives his usual neurotic persona routine which is of course completely opposite to Michael Douglas who plays James Bond but with a teenagers style personality and love for the job. Both have their pre-requisite cliched characteristics such as Douglas’ sub-plot about not spending enough time with his son to running gags about Brooks’ podiatry job.
For Brooks especially its a brave job especially in one bath-related scene requiring a flash of flesh you wouldn’t want to see again on screen. Both though have fun with the concept and play off each other quite well, certainly better than Candice Bergin whose role seems trivial, Robin Tunney does well with an underwritten part, whilst young comedian Ryan Reynolds pretty much plays it straight. Same can’t be said for David Suchet though who totally steals the screen as a volatile French arms dealer with a crush on Brooks whom he’s mistaken for the crime lord ‘Fat Cobra’.
There’s several wacky situations and scenes which right from the get go you can predict but yet still surprise you in either a visual or comical way such as the 007-esque opening and a wedding party reception’s rather soggy interruption. Thankfully this doesn’t try to become an action comedy though, relying more on setups and timing than anything flashy or explosive.
Production values are superb, and a real enjoyable little thing is the music which cleverly uses classics from Bond theme “Live & Let Die” to various 80’s pop tunes and even some Barbra Streisand numbers. I guess in many ways because we’ve become so cynical against studio comedies that every now and then one will surprise you. Make no mistake this isn’t massively funny or vaguely memorable piece but as far as predictable entertainment goes its quite passable fun.