21 February 2009 | MartinHafer
Low-brow and rather crude...but still funny.
In case you don't know it, Stan Laurel had a film career before being teamed with Oliver Hardy. Stan starred in or co-starred in many shorts during the late teens and 1920s. The quality of the lot varied considerably. However, despite a few really good films here and there, the bulk of the films are, at best, average and not even close to the quality of the premier comedians of the day. Considering I am one of the biggest Laurel and Hardy fans (having reviewed just about all their films--even the foreign language ones I could get hold of), my seeing Laurel as a less than stellar solo act should carry some merit, as I really WANTED to enjoy these movies more.
This film is set in a small Irish town and mostly concerns James Finlayson's attempts to marry a young lady against her will. Nice guy, Stan Laurel, tries to help out but gets thrown in jail for his trouble. What happens next you'll just need to see for yourself.
NEAR DUBLIN is a film that might just set your blood pressure off due to its treatment of the Irish. In this film, they are all violent jerks--just itching to fight. In fact, at one point in the film, there's a dance and EVERYONE has brought along a supply of bricks to throw once the expected fights begin! This is certainly NOT a politically correct film nor is it subtle. Its low-brow humor might just make you cringe, in fact. However, despite this, the film is actually rather funny in a Three Stooges sort of way. You laugh but later feel a bit ashamed for having done so!