9 May 2003 | allenblank
A wonderful bitter sweet comedy-drama
After reading a bunch of negative reviews of this film I thought I should post my own. This is a comedy-drama, based on a theatrical play/ It is funny, sad, and serious, sometimes all at once. It has made up it's mind what type of film it's trying to be. It's about a theatrical unit doing a touring variety show in the Malayisan jungle at the very end on WWII.
It's also about a commanding officer who had missed the war and is now trying to get his taste of the war by using this unit he's in command of to fight some kind of enemy. It's also about an unscruplous sargent who is using this unit to arm the rebel soldiers and make some money on it. It's also about a poor eurasian woman who is pregnant by this sargent and has to trick another soldier to get an abortion to lose the baby.
The film does this by using humor which is something I do in my everyday life to get thru a trying day, and what's wrong with that. The one character that holds the film together is the non-military head of the acting troupe, Terry Dennis (Denis Quiley, in a award callibar performance). Terry who changes all male names to female including "Jessica Christ", and has a heart for everyone in the troupe is the glue that holds this film together. He is not a stereotype performance but a flesh and blood character. John Cleese is the colonel Blimpish officer in charge of the troupe, who doesn't really understand theatrical types, nor does he want to. Cleese is fine in the role, so is the rest of the cast including Nicola Pagget as the eurasian woman and the always wonderful Simon Jones as Eric Young-Love. Jones created his part in the original stage production, and later on played the Cleese part in a production Off-Broadway here in New York with Jim Dale as Terry Dennis. Denis Quiley and Joe Melia also created their parts in the original Royal Shakespeare production of the play.
Don't listen to the negative reviews, try this for yourselves, I think you'll like it. You may, like me, shed a tear or two before it's over, and then laugh so hard you'll fall out of your seat during the end credits.