9 October 2013 | melquisedeq
We need to chill a bit about this series...
First off: the Portuguese, we have this tendency to validate our own cultural products in relation to everyone else's, and then pull out the little "size proportion" disclaimer when found lacking. Allow me to explain.
This movie is more fun than funny... by which I mean that it is evident, watching it, that it is a labour of love, the people involved (actors and technical team are one and the same) were having a lot of fun all the way, and it shows. I found myself laughing at (imagined) instances during filming, as I am sure the cast and crew did. It's contagious. But that does tell how much the immersion sense is lacking, when you picture yourself behind the scenes rather than inside them.
The gradually improved technical level of the series only accentuates the fact that almost none of the actors are professional. The delivery is poorly timed and contrived, and a movie so dependent on dialogue truly suffers for it. It does work though, marginally, taking itself just serious enough to make the "so bad that it's good" aesthetic kick in.
Without said aesthetic to mask it, the film's greatest fault would be just too obvious to excuse: it is just not that well written. The unwillingly funny delivery is much funnier than the jokes themselves. There are funny lines being dropped often, even a handful of gems, but on the whole, if I had to read the script, I don't think my face would go much farther from deadpan than the occasional chuckle.
This is the type of low-brow potty humour that is well appreciated in the north of the country, regional rivalry be excused for the sake of honesty. This is more for fans of Fernando Rocha than for people who understand why he is not a true stand-up comedian. That's absolutely fine, I myself can't avoid guffawing when someone gets kicked in the nuts so who am I to judge?
My complaint is not that the humour is not refined (god no)... it just isn't that good either. This is no Bruno or Pink Flamingos. Unless you find the mere utterance of a swear word, by itself, be hilarious. Not the judicious use of profanity to add dimension to a characters dialogue. No. It is expect that someone saying "fu&k" would provoke a hearty minute of laughter.
If you are that guy, the one who never misses a Fernando Rocha set, who found Gel's more recent catchphrase-based work to be groundbreaking, if you like João Paulo Rodrigues' brand of accent-derived comedy, you will no doubt love this film (and series). In fact, it is likely that this will be the greatest movie you'll ever see in your life, ever. The movie does manage to capture that uniquely Portuguese subset of humour, its flaws and limitations actually adding to that aspect of it.
For that fact this otherwise mediocre movie deserves a bump in rating from this reviewer. Well, that and the "smurf family in the woods" line, that s#it cracked me up!