Film Review – ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948)

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948, USA) ***
Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi
dist. Universal Pictures (USA), General Film Distributors (GFD) (UK); pr co. Universal International Pictures (UI); d. Charles Barton; w. Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, John Grant; pr. Robert Arthur; ph. Charles Van Enger (B&W. 35mm. Spherical. 1.37:1); m. Frank Skinner; ed. Frank Gross; ad. Hilyard M. Brown, Bernard Herzbrun; rel. 15 June 1948 (USA), August 1949 (UK); BBFC cert: PG; r/t. 83m.
cast: Bud Abbott (Chick), Lou Costello (Wilbur), Lon Chaney Jr. (Lawrence Talbot / The Wolfman), Bela Lugosi (Dracula), Glenn Strange (Monster), Lenore Aubert (Sandra Mornay), Jane Randolph (Joan Raymond), Frank Ferguson (Mr. McDougal), Charles Bradstreet (Dr. Stevens).
Abbott and Costello play two hapless freight handlers who find themselves encountering Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man. Enjoyment of this horror comedy will depend on your tolerance of the antics of the comedy duo who lack the sophistication, inventiveness and dignity of Laurel & Hardy, but became immensely popular nonetheless. One or two amusing moments do surface, and it is great to see Lugosi, Chaney and co. in action again. Lugosi is particularly effective returning to his signature role of Count Dracula. Watch out for the final gag, which is the best of the production. In 2001, the Library of Congress selected this film for preservation in the National Film Registry. On screen title: BUD ABBOTT AND LOU COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. UK Title: ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE GHOSTS.

Film Review – HOG WILD (1930)

HOG WILD (1930, USA) ****
Comedy
dist. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) (USA), Jury Metro-Goldwyn (UK); pr co. Hal Roach Studios; d. James Parrott; w. H.M. Walker (dialogue) (based on a story by Stan Laurel and Leo McCarey (uncredited)); pr. Hal Roach (uncredited); ph. George Stevens (B&W. 35mm. Spherical. 1.37:1); m. md. Marvin Hatley; ed. Richard C. Currier; rel. 31 May 1930 (USA), 25 August 1930 (UK); BBFC cert: U; r/t. 19m.
cast: Stan Laurel (Stan), Oliver Hardy (Ollie), Dorothy Granger (Tillie – The Hardys’ Maid / Girl Lifting Her Skirt by Puddle (uncredited)), Fay Holderness (Mrs. Hardy (uncredited)), Charles McMurphy (Streetcar Conductor (uncredited)).
Vintage Laurel & Hardy short in which Mrs. Hardy insists that Oliver mount the radio aerial on the roof before he goes off gallivanting with his friend Stanley. Inventive slapstick sight gags abound, not least the hilarious closing gag involving L&H’s car becoming sandwiched between trams. Original UK title: AERIAL ANTICS.

Film Review – YESTERDAY (2019)

YESTERDAY (2019, UK) ***
Romance, Music, Fantasy
dist. Universal Pictures; pr co. Etalon Film / Working Title Films; d. Danny Boyle; w. Richard Curtis (based on a story by Richard Curtis and Jack Barth); pr. Bernard Bellew, Tim Bevan, Danny Boyle, Richard Curtis, Eric Fellner, Matthew James Wilkinson; ph. Christopher Ross (Colour. D-Cinema (Digital Cinema Package DCP) (also Dolby Atmos version), DCP (CGS version) (also Dolby Atmos version), DCP (Dolby Vision + Atmos). CGS (CGS version),Digital Intermediate, Digital Intermediate (4K) (master format), Dolby Vision, Redcode RAW (8K) (source format). 2.39:1); m. Daniel Pemberton; ed. Jon Harris; pd. Patrick Rolfe, Moin Uddin; ad. James Wakefield; rel. 4 May 2019 (USA), 20 June 2019 (UK); BBFC cert: 12; r/t. 116m.
cast: Himesh Patel (Jack Malik), Lily James (Ellie Appleton), Joel Fry (Rocky), Ed Sheeran (Ed Sheeran), Kate McKinnon (Debra Hammer), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Jed Malik), Meera Syal (Sheila Malik), Harry Michell (Nick), Sophia Di Martino (Carol), Ellise Chappell (Lucy), Justin Edwards (Leo (Russian Stranger)), Sarah Lancashire (Liz (Liverpool Stranger)), Alexander Arnold (Gavin), Lamorne Morris (Head of Marketing), Vincent Franklin (Brian), Karl Theobald (Terry), Camilla Rutherford (Hilary), Michael Kiwanuka (Michael Kiwanuka), James Corden (James Corden), Robert Carlyle (John Lennon (uncredited)).
Patel gives a winning performance as a struggling musician who is involved in a road accident and wakes up to find no-one has heard of The Beatles. Seeing his opportunity, he uses their songs to bring him success but along the way reconciles his newfound stardom with the loss of his keenest supporter from prior to the accident (James). This is Richard Curtis by-the-numbers, but despite its predictability and lack of depth there is much to like. Patel’s self-effacing and unlikely musician is a character the audience can care about as is James as his childhood sweetheart. Sheeran is game in a large support role and McKinnon is the epitome of corporate greed. Where Curtis misses the mark as a writer is in his lack of willingness to explore the frankly manipulative premise to its fullest potential, making it feel like the gimmick it is to hang familiar romcom tropes from. Boyle directs anonymously and lets the characters breathe and the feelgood factor is high. The songs are ultimately what we remember the most and they are, of course, outstanding.

Film Review – CARRY ON HENRY (1971)

Carry On Henry (1971) | Ian FarringtonCARRY ON HENRY (1971, UK) ***½
Comedy
dist. J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors; pr co. The Rank Organisation / Peter Rogers Productions; d. Gerald Thomas; w. Talbot Rothwell; pr. Peter Rogers; ph. Alan Hume (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); m. Eric Rogers; ed. Alfred Roome; ad. Lionel Couch; cos. Courtenay Elliott; m/up. Geoffrey Rodway, Stella Rivers; sd. Ken Barker, Danny Daniel (Mono); rel. 3 June 1971 (UK), 17 March 1972 (USA); cert: PG; r/t. 89m.

cast: Sidney James (King Henry VIII), Kenneth Williams (Thomas Cromwell), Charles Hawtrey (Sir Roger de Lodgerley), Joan Sims (Queen Marie), Terry Scott (Cardinal Wolsey), Barbara Windsor (Bettina), Kenneth Connor (Lord Hampton of Wick), Julian Holloway (Sir Thomas), Peter Gilmore (King Francis of France), Julian Orchard (Duc de Poncenay), Gertan Klauber (Bidet), David Davenport (Major Domo), Margaret Nolan (Buxom Lass), William Mervyn (Physician), Norman Chappell (First Plotter), Derek Francis (Farmer), Bill Maynard (Guy Fawkes), Douglas Ridley (Second Plotter), David Prowse (Bearded Torturer), Monika Dietrich (Katherine Howard), Marjie Lawrence (Serving Maid), Patsy Rowlands (Queen), Billy Cornelius (Guard), Alan Curtis (Conte di Pisa), Leon Greene (Torturer), Peter Butterworth (Charles, Earl of Bristol (uncredited)).

Henry VIII (James) has just married Marie of Normandy (Sims) and is eager to consummate their marriage. Unfortunately for Henry, she is always eating garlic, and refuses to stop. Deciding to get rid of her in his usual manner, Henry has to find some way of doing it without provoking war with Marie’s cousin, the King of France (Gilmore). The perfect casting of James as Henry VIII and a script that has some genuinely funny one-liners alongside the usual double-entendres makes this historical farce is one of the best of the series. Sims, as Henry’s the garlic eating French wife, and Williams, as Cromwell, offer excellent support. Hawtrey also gives one of his most memorable turns as the king’s taster. Good production values through use of wardrobe from ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS.

Film Review – CARRY ON ABROAD (1972)

Carry On Abroad (movie poster).jpgCARRY ON ABROAD (1972, UK) **½
Comedy
dist. J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors; pr co. The Rank Organisation / Peter Rogers Productions; d. Gerald Thomas; w. Talbot Rothwell; pr. Peter Rogers; ph. Alan Hume (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); m. Eric Rogers; ed. Alfred Roome; ad. Lionel Couch; cos. Courtenay Elliott; m/up. Geoffrey Rodway, Stella Rivers; sd. Ken Barker, Taffy Haines (Mono); rel. 15 December 1972 (UK), 8 December 1973 (USA); cert: PG; r/t. 88m.

cast: Sidney James (Vic Flange), Kenneth Williams (Stuart Farquhar), Charles Hawtrey (Eustace Tuttle), Joan Sims (Cora Flange), Bernard Bresslaw (Brother Bernard), Barbara Windsor (Sadie Tomkins), Kenneth Connor (Stanley Blunt), Peter Butterworth (Pepe), Jimmy Logan (Bert Conway), June Whitfield (Evelyn Blunt), Hattie Jacques (Floella), Derek Francis (Brother Martin), Sally Geeson (Lily), Ray Brooks (Georgio), Carol Hawkins (Marge), John Clive (Robin), Jack Douglas (Harry), Patsy Rowlands (Miss Dobbs), Gail Grainger (Moira Plunkett), David Kernan (Nicholas), Amelia Bayntun (Mrs. Tuttle), Alan Curtis (Police Chief), Gertan Klauber (Postcard Seller), Brian Osborne (Stall-Holder), Hugh Futcher (Jailer), Olga Lowe (Madame Fifi).

A group of holiday-makers head for the Spanish resort of Elsbels for a 4-day visit. When they get there, they find the Hotel still hasn’t been finished being built, and the weather is awful. And there is something strange about the staff. They all look very similar. To top it all off, the weather seems to be having an adverse affect on the Hotel’s foundations. The usual array of smutty jokes and slapstick humour is trotted out as the crew embark on a disastrous packaged holiday. Strong points are James’ permanent cheerfulness and Jacques’ temperamental Spanish hotel chef. Entertaining if it catches you in the right mood, but not up with the series’ best. The last film in the series to feature regular Hawtrey.

Film Review – CARRY ON CAMPING (1969)

Carry On Camping - WikipediaCARRY ON CAMPING (1969, UK) ***
Comedy
dist. J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors; pr co. The Rank Organisation / Peter Rogers Productions; d. Gerald Thomas; w. Talbot Rothwell; pr. Peter Rogers; ph. Ernest Steward (Eastmancolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); m. Eric Rogers; ed. Alfred Roome; ad. Lionel Couch; cos. Yvonne Caffin; m/up. Geoffrey Rodway, Stella Rivers; sd. Ken Barker, Bill Daniels (Mono); rel. 29 May 1969 (UK), 20 June 1969 (USA); cert: PG; r/t. 88m.

cast: Sidney James (Sid Boggle), Charles Hawtrey (Charlie Muggins), Joan Sims (Joan Fussey), Kenneth Williams (Doctor Kenneth Soaper), Terry Scott (Peter Potter), Barbara Windsor (Babs), Hattie Jacques (Miss Haggard), Bernard Bresslaw (Bernie Lugg), Julian Holloway (Jim Tanner), Dilys Laye (Anthea Meeks), Peter Butterworth (Josh Fiddler), Betty Marsden (Harriet Potter), Trisha Noble (Sally), Brian Oulton (Mr. Short), Derek Francis (Farmer), Elizabeth Knight (Jane), Sandra Caron (Fanny), Georgina Moon (Joy), Jennifer Pyle (Hilda), Jackie Poole (Betty), Sally Kemp (Girl with Cow), Amelia Bayntun (Mrs. Fussey), Patricia Franklin (Farmer’s Daughter), Michael Nightingale (Man in Cinema), George Moon (Scrawny Man), Valerie Shute (Pat), Vivien Lloyd (Verna), Lesley Duff (Norma), Anna Karen (Hefty Girl), Valerie Leon (Miss Dobbin).

Sid (James) and Bernie (Bresslaw) keep having their amorous intentions snubbed by their girlfriends Joan (Sims) and Anthea (Laye). The boys suggest a camping holiday, secretly intending to take them to a nudist camp. Of course, they end up in the wrong place. Packed with the usual jokes, mostly double entendre, this series entry benefits from the enthusiastic performances of its cast, which still manages to shine through, despite the late Autumn shoot and modest budget. All the regulars adopt their familiar personas and the film is great fun alternating laughs and groans. Memorable for Windsor losing her top through the morning stretch exercises and Jacques’ pursuit of Williams. Last series appearance of Laye.

Film Review – DECK THE HALLS (2006)

Deck The Halls Review | Movie - EmpireDECK THE HALLS (2006, USA) **
Comedy, Family
dist. Twentieth Century Fox; pr co. New Regency Productions (/ Corduroy Films / All Lit Up Productions; d. John Whitesell; w. Matt Corman, Chris Ord, Don Rhymer; exec pr. Jeremiah Samuels; pr. Michael Costigan, Arnon Milchan, John Whitesell; ph. Mark Irwin (DeLuxe. 35mm. Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Super 35 (3-perf) (source format). 1.85:1); m. George S. Clinton; m sup. Patrick Houlihan; ed. Paul Hirsch, James Start; pd. Bill Brzeski; ad. Dan Hermansen; set d. Tedd Kuchera; cos. Carol Ramsey; m/up. Lisa Love, Anji Bemben; sd. Jon Johnson (Dolby Digital | DTS); sfx. Chris Sturges; vfx. Thomas F. Ford IV, Matthew Gratzner, Bob Hurrie, Michael Joyce, Ray McIntyre Jr., David Sanger; st. Charles Croughwell, Danny Virtue; rel. 22 November 2006 (USA), 1 December 2006 (UK); cert: PG; r/t. 93m.

cast: Danny DeVito (Buddy Hall), Matthew Broderick (Steve Finch), Kristin Davis (Kelly Finch), Kristin Chenoweth (Tia Hall), Alia Shawkat (Madison Finch), Dylan Blue (Carter Finch), Kelly Aldridge (Ashley Hall), Sabrina Aldridge (Emily Hall), Jorge Garcia (Wallace), Fred Armisen (Gustave), Gillian Vigman (Gerta), Ryan Devlin (Bob Murray), Sean O’Bryan (Mayor Young), SuChin Pak (Self), Jackie Burroughs (Mrs. Ryor), Garry Chalk (Sheriff Dave), Nicola Peltz (Mackenzie), Zak Santiago (Fireworks Guy), David Lewis (Ted), Daniel Bacon (Ed).

DeVito and Broderick have it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space. This is an often painfully unfunny and mean-spirited movie that falls flat with most of its intended gags. A threadbare script, unsubtle direction and unlikeable character performances from both male leads drag this seasonal film down. Occasional glimpses of a better movie do emerge from time to time, notably in Chenoweth’s nicely judged performance as DeVito’s wife, but these moments are dwarfed by the unsubtle and heavily manufactured tit-for-tat comedy that can look no further than trying to generate big laughs through increasingly exaggerated scenarios.

Film Review – SMALL TIME CROOKS (2000)

Small Time Crooks (2000) - Photo Gallery - IMDbSMALL TIME CROOKS (2000, USA) ***½
Comedy, Crime
dist. DreamWorks Distribution (USA), FilmFour (UK); pr co. Dreamworks Pictures / Sweetland Films / Magnolia Productions; d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen; exec pr. J.E. Beaucaire; pr. Jean Doumanian, Helen Robin; ph. Fei Zhao (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); ed. Alisa Lepselter; pd. Santo Loquasto; ad. Tom Warren; set d. Jessica Lanier; cos. Suzanne McCabe; m/up. Rosemary Zurlo, Werner Sherer; sd. Robert Hein, Gary Alper (DTS (Mono) | Dolby Digital (Mono)); sfx. John Ottesen, Ron Ottesen; rel. 19 May 2000 (USA), 1 December 2000 (UK); cert: PG; r/t. 94m.

cast: Woody Allen (Ray), Tracey Ullman (Frenchy), Hugh Grant (David), Elaine May (May), Tony Darrow (Tommy), George Grizzard (George Blint), Jon Lovitz (Benny), Michael Rapaport (Denny), Elaine Stritch (Chi Chi Potter), Steve Kroft (Steve Kroft), Brian McConnachie (Paul Milton), Kristine Nielsen (Emily Bailey), Larry Pine (Charles Bailey), Julie Lund (Linda Rhinelander), Maurice Sonnenberg (Garth Steinway), Richard Mawe (Anthony Gwynne), Frank Wood (Oliver), Howard Erskine (Langston Potter), Marvin Chatinover (Dr. Henske), Dana Tyler (TV News Reporter), Carolyn Saxon (Candy Salesperson), Sam Josepher (Real Estate Agent), Lawrence Howard Levy (Dynamite Dealer), Diane Bradley (Cookie Store Customer), Crystal Field (Cookie Store Customer), Cindy Carver (Cookie Store Customer), Ray Garvey (Cookie Store Customer), Bill Gerber (Cookie Store Customer), Olivia Hayman (Cookie Store Customer), Laurine Towler (Cookie Store Customer), Fanda Nikic (Cookie Store Customer), Brian Markinson (Cop), Riccardo Bertoni (Winklers’ Butler), Isaac Mizrahi (Winklers’ Chef), Teri Black (Winkler Party Guest), John Doumanian (Winkler Party Guest), Phyllis Burdoe (Winkler Party Guest), Karla Wolfangle (Modern Dance Performer), Rob Besserer (Modern Dance Performer), Ruth Laredo (Concert Pianist), Julie Halston (Concert Party Guest), Anthony Sinopoli (Frenchy’s Chauffeur), Jesse Levy (Church Cellist), Josephine Calabrese (Churchgoer), Cindy Wilks (Churchgoer), Trevor Moran (Churchgoer), Peter McRobbie (Frenchy’s Lawyer), Douglas McGrath (Frenchy’s Lawyer), Christine Pipgras (Potter Party Guest), Nick Garfinkle (Potter Party Guest), Kenneth Edelson (Potter Party Guest), Ira Wheeler (Potter Party Guest), William Hill (Potter Party Guest), Ramsey Faragallah (Potter’s Waiter), Scotty Bloch (Edgar’s Wife).

Dishwasher and small-fry criminal Ray (Allen) hits on a plan with his partners in crime to re-open a local pizza place and dig through to the bank down the street. As his wife (Ullman) can’t cook pizza but does great cookies, that’s what they sell. While the no-hope tunnellers get lost underground, the cookie operation really takes off and the team find themselves rich business people. But the other local money isn’t quite ready to accept them.  The first half of this movie sees Allen in top form interacting with his bumbling team of bank robbers and sparring amusingly with the excellent Ullman as his cookie baking wife. Then there is a shift in gear and theme as Allen’s tale becomes more concerned in its message that class cannot be bought or stolen. Here, Grant is brought in as an art dealer seizing on the opportunity to educate Ullman and Allen in return for them funding his business plans. May is also on hand as Ullman’s dim-witted hired help and produces a very funny performance. Whilst disjointed, with some of the characters from the first two acts disappearing in the final act, there are great comedic moments, and it is nice to see Allen looking for a change of pace with a broader approach in this film. For the most part it pays off.

Film Review – ANNIE HALL (1977)

Pulling Focus: Annie Hall (1977) | Taste Of Cinema - Movie Reviews and  Classic Movie ListsANNIE HALL (1977, USA) *****
Comedy, Drama, Romance
dist. United Artists; pr co. Rollins-Joffe Productions; d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman; exec pr. Fred T. Gallo, Robert Greenhut; pr. Jack Rollins, Charles H. Joffe; assoc pr. Fred T. Gallo; ph. Gordon Willis (DeLuxe. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); ed. Wendy Greene Bricmont, Ralph Rosenblum; ad. Mel Bourne; set d. Robert Drumheller, Justin Scoppa Jr.; cos. Ruth Morley; m/up. Fern Buchner, John Inzerella, Romaine Greene, Vivienne Walker; sd. Dan Sable, Jack Higgins, James Pilcher, James Sabat (Mono); anim seq. Chris K. Ishii; rel. 27 March 1977 (USA), 21 August 1977 (UK); cert: 15; r/t. 93m.

cast: Woody Allen (Alvy Singer), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Tony Roberts (Rob), Carol Kane (Allison), Paul Simon (Tony Lacey), Shelley Duvall (Pam), Janet Margolin (Robin), Colleen Dewhurst (Mom Hall), Christopher Walken (Duane Hall), Donald Symington (Dad Hall), Helen Ludlam (Grammy Hall), Mordecai Lawner (Alvy’s Dad), Joan Neuman (Alvy’s Mom), Jonathan Munk (Alvy – Age 9), Ruth Volner (Alvy’s Aunt), Martin Rosenblatt (Alvy’s Uncle), Hy Anzell (Joey Nichols), Rashel Novikoff (Aunt Tessie), Russell Horton (Man in Theatre Line), Marshall McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan), Christine Jones (Dorrie), Mary Boylan (Miss Reed), Wendy Girard (Janet), John Doumanian (Coke Fiend), Bob Maroff (Man #1 Outside Theatre), Rick Petrucelli (Man #2 Outside Theatre), Lee Callahan (Ticket Seller at Theatre), Chris Gampel (Doctor).

Jewish comedy writer Alvy Singer (Allen) ponders the modern quest for love and his past romance with tightly-wound WASP singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton, née Diane Hall). Allen is at the top of his game with this painfully accurate and funny look at the break-up of a relationship. The movie caught everyone by surprise on release, following a string of hilarious joke fests, but the seeds had been sown with his acting role in Martin Ritt’s THE FRONT and his willingness to explore bigger themes in LOVE AND DEATH. Keaton as Annie is exceptional and exudes charm and personality as well as a neurosis equalling that of Allen. It is the couple’s inner-most insecurities that doom their relationship to failure. This is eloquently expressed through the non-linear narrative, frequent breaking of the fourth wall and the use of flashback to childhood influences. The move also has some very touching moments amongst the brilliant one-liners. Of note are Keaton’s rendition of “Seems Like Old Times” in  a nightclub and the Allen’s use of montage to frame the rose-tinted nostalgia for his lost love. One of the greatest films of the 1970s and a huge inspiration to other filmmakers. Watch out for brief early appearances from Jeff Goldblum, Shelley Hack, Beverly D’Angelo and Sigourney Weaver. Truman Capote cameos as the Truman Capote Look-Alike.

AA: Best Picture; Best Actress in a Leading Role (Diane Keaton); Best Director (Woody Allen); Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman)
AAN: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Woody Allen)

Film Review – THE LIKELY LADS (1976)

The Likely Lads writers on lost episodes rediscovered, and why the ...THE LIKELY LADS (1976, UK) ***
Comedy
dist. Anglo-EMI Film Distributors; pr co. Anglo-EMI Productions; d. Michael Tuchner; w. Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais; exec pr. Nat Cohen, Philip Collins; pr. Aida Young; ph. Tony Imi (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.66:1); m. Mike Hugg; ed. Ralph Sheldon; ad. Robert Jones; cos. Emma Porteous; m/up. Neville Smallwood, Jan Dorman; sd. Kevin Sutton (Mono); rel. 2 April 1976 (UK); cert: PG; r/t. 90m.

cast: Rodney Bewes (Bob Ferris), James Bolam (Terry Collier), Brigit Forsyth (Thelma Ferris), Mary Tamm (Christina), Sheila Fearn (Audrey Collier), Zena Walker (Laura Windsor), Anulka Dziubinska (Dawn Windsor), Alun Armstrong (Tommy – Milkman), Judy Buxton (Iris), Vicki Michelle (Glenys), Penny Irving (Sandy), Michelle Newell (Alice), Susan Tracy (Edith Collier), Gordon Griffin (Cyril Collier), Edward Wilson (Les Ferris), Roger Avon (Joe the Landlord), Ronald Lacey (Ernie), Elizabeth Lax (Wendy – Bob’s Secretary), Linda Robson (Marsha), Ian McDiarmid (Vicar).

This spin-off from the successful TV series sees childhood pals Bewes and Bolam (as Bob and Terry) at their bickering best as Bewes attempts to come to terms with some form of mid-life crisis. Forsyth is also excellent as Bewes’ manipulative wife, Thelma, striving to find a long-term partner for Bolam. The film is episodic and allows room for the lead characters’ witty philosophical reflections on life. However, it gets caught between two stools by trying to capture the intimacy of its TV roots whilst expanding the setting with a mid-story disastrous caravan holiday. That said there is always a laugh around the corner. Attempts at broader bedroom farce are beneath the rest of the material and seem merely included to appeal to fans of many of the British sex comedies of the day. The film is at its best in its moments of nostalgia. Patchy but entertaining.