13 March 2009 | tonstant viewer
Big Milligan Fan disappointed in this damp squib
Spike Milligan was one of the funniest men I've ever seen, and a huge influence on my life.
This movie is limp and awful, and does his memory no credit. The script is cluttered and preserves too many lines from the book intact (the leg jokes here are incomprehensible). The actors' performances are uniformly ineffective, a great cast wasted, and the lead, Sean Hughes, delivers Milligan's belligerent hostilities in a plaintive whine, which misses the point completely.
The gentle pacing is a killer as well. Farce should accelerate towards the end. The Goon Shows often did, the novel "Puckoon" definitely did, but this film, if anything, slows down just when you want the various elements to smash together in a final climax.
Milligan narrated an abridged audio recording of "Puckoon" in 1980, with T.P. McKenna, Dermot Kelly, Norma Ronald and Jack Hobbs. Now, that's funny. Ten minutes of that is funnier than this whole film. I believe the LP was transferred to CD, but don't know if it's still in print.
There is a movie of "Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall" with Jim Dale and Arthur Lowe. It too is a godawful mess, but it's funnier than this thing.
It's possible that Milligan's spirit is too rambunctious for the screen. The other reviewers here are indulging in politeness and wishful thinking. This film fumbles virtually every opportunity and never misses a chance to disappoint.