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  • Another little British gem. Maybe I should have given it a ten, but almost nothing deserves a ten. Well, maybe Lord of the Rings. This is a very funny, very realistic film about everything that can go wrong and does while filming a TV show. Behind all that glamour and slickness you've got poor Bill Nighy, the director, trying to satisfy the producers and the writer and actually get this one scene filmed. And Tom Courtenay, a bit player who only has one line to say: a whole sixteen words he's been memorizing in his sleep. Both performances are superb, as are all the performances in the film. It is very funny, eccentric as only British film can be, and very realistic. I would recommend this film very highly, especially to those who are very critical of films without realising just what goes on behind the scenes. One of my kids works in film, and has told me what amount to horror stories about how difficult and frustrating doing a shoot can be. So while this film is really very funny, and a very good example of Murphy's Law, it is also realistic.
  • Comedy as only the British do, and do beautifully...

    It's more than just a comedy, however: this is biting satire at its best, as a TV film crew camp on a typical suburban street in a typical English town – funnily enough, just down from Elstree Studios in Boreham Wood, Hertfordshire where I got my first job in 1967 at NCR, a big computer company about two km from Elstree. I used to pass by the studios every day on my way to and from my work.

    Much had changed at Boreham Wood, of course, but not the characters: a bunch of back-biting, self-promoting, dysfunctional and depressed boasters and boosters who are generally more interested in themselves only than in getting a job done – a TV shoot for a pulp police program – on time and under-budget. Like the outtakes we sometimes see on Jackie Chan movies at the end, this shoot is reminiscent thereof, but with a much sharper edge and savage humour.

    I can't praise the acting skill of Bill Nighy (playing the director, Phil Parish) too highly; the man is a genius at timing and delivery, not to mention his deadpan face that can turn in an instant to sycophantic self-denigration or to one of humorless, almost homicidal fury. He is one of Britain's gems and is never to be missed.

    Of equal skill, but not the same flair, is Tom Courtenay who plays the luckless and lackluster actor from yesteryear, and who's on the TV job to deliver his one line as a porter at the hospital – an extra extra, so to speak, whose line is, apparently, crucial to the whole sense of the cop show for that episode. Just how crucial? Well, that would spoil it all for you, wouldn't it?

    Without a doubt, in my opinion, film actors, directors and companies do their best work when they satirize themselves – highlighting how the world of make-believe is far from being make believe when you look behind the scenes (hmmm, no pun intended). The send-up dialog is just perfect, particularly the scene in the bus where the powers that be discuss changes they want to make to the cop show – to make it more appealing, shall I say, to a bigger audience. If you watch TV much, which I don't, then you know what that means, no doubt.

    I never saw the first version from 1976, but I'm sure it was good. See this one first, though, just for Bill Nighy, if nothing else. You won't regret it, trust me...
  • jupiter-384016 September 2004
    Brilliant, better than the 1970's TV original version. Superb cast, particularly Tom Courtenay and Bill Nighy. The four way dialogue in the bus regarding a suggestion for a new TV series (twin brothers, Civil Engineers, building a bridge) ("What, no Doctors, policemen, shagging?") was superb, apart from crystallising what the viewing public wants. Whether Jack Rosenthal updated the story for 2003 I do not know but it had class written all over it. Shown on Sky Movies, and will therefore presumably be repeated. Don't miss it, and if it is ever released as a DVD buy or rent it.
  • The last word of that title is DRIVEL ! Very apt, i do agree. This embarrasing nonsensical tripe was offered to me by a helpless family member in the form of a ticket to view as a birthday present . Talk about misery, if you find enjoyment in that, this is it folks. Roll up roll up see how a so called professional group of FILM MAKERS wow) can lose themselves in self conglaturatory pessimism and endless nonsensical inuendo. Simply put, this is a monumental flop, which to add to the irony, was introduced by herself in person? Yes, you guessed , his patronisingly rude widow ( I R L ) One of the very few films I have ever run from as fast as my legs could whisk me from that venue ? And stragely enough, it really was a little less than 10 minutes in my case until I happily vacated my seat. To cap it all, ticket price was £15 as this was purportedly a charity function ? And somepne who was involved with that charity confided in me, that they would never again volunteer their efforts, for that organisation, was not exactly, shall we say, above board ? No nudging or winking if you please ? If you were there, my sympathies ! Michael...
  • Cedric_Catsuits24 December 2009
    0 out of 10 because this has NO redeeming features at all. There is enough material here for a 3 minute sketch, if you stretch it out. Maybe there was a time when this sort of gentle satire was classed as entertainment, but that time has long since passed on - hallelujah for that.

    Repeating the same tired old joke over and over and expecting new laughs is a sure sign of madness. Watch this film all the way through and either you will go mad, or you already are. I guess you can only make lemonade out of lemons, but they ran out of lemons after about 5 minutes and substituted water. Waste water, at that.

    Total waste of a decent cast and and 90 minutes of my life. Not going to waste any more of it except to say: don't waste yours on this drivel.