17 October 2013 | MartinHafer
Mildly amusing but I really think it helps to be British as well as old enough to remember and appreciate them.
This is the fourth film I have seen by the so-called 'Crazy Gang'--a group of rowdy and low-brow entertainers much like you might have found in American vaudeville or burlesque. And when I call them low-brow, this isn't meant as a pejorative term--they really were attempting to connect to the lowest sort of entertainment much like the Three Stooges. The jokes are NOT the intellectual sort and their antics are a good bit less sophisticated than Martin & Lewis or Abbott & Costello.
Of the four Crazy Gang films I've watched, "Alf's Button Afloat" is my least favorite. Perhaps it's because their humor is something that wears thin after a few films but I also think the jokes just weren't as funny here as they were in "Gasbags" or "The Frozen Limits", though I really did enjoy Alistair Sim's guest appearance in this one.
The film begins with a genie going to sleep in his magic lamp. The lamp has been buried and eventually is discovered...and makes its way to the scrap drive. Then, it's melted down and eventually the essence of this genie (Sim) is made into a common button for the British Navy. When the Gang are all stupid enough to accidentally join the Royal Navy, Alf's coat contains this genie. And, when he tries to polish the button, out pops his genie. The problem is that Alf and his friends are simply too stupid and unimaginative to figure out how to use the genie and the film ends with them wishing they'd never found it in the first place.
The jokes are mostly verbal and come one after another after another. If your idea of funny is a character who lisps heavily or corny word-play then are you in for a treat. Otherwise, I must admit that after a while it became pretty tedious--though there were some funny moments here and there. My feeling is that folks who grew up with the Crazy Gang will be MUCH more forgiving of their humor and younger folks will wonder what, exactly, folks saw in them.