Director: Ben Kellett
Starring: Brendan O’Carroll, Danny O’Carroll, Jennifer Gibney, Paddy Houlihan, Robert Bathurst, Eilish O’Carroll
Written by: (also based on the characters created) Brendan O’Carroll
Running Time: 94 mins
Release date: 27th June 2014
Welcome to the 1970’s where your favourite television characters from your favourite television situation comedy are given a big screen spin-off, so you get to see them in all their glory, being a little ruder but for three times as long and…Hang on. It’s not the 1970’s and yet it certainly feels like it, especially on the evidence of Mrs. Brown’s Boy D’Movie. Yep, the popular BBC comedy is now a full length feature film with three times the humour, three times the naughtiness and three times s long. Oh, and three times as flat as a pancake!
Agnes Brown is running a family fruit stall in Moore Street, a stall that has been passed down from generation to generation. A problem has arisen. She owes millions in unpaid taxes for the stall and crocked politician P.R. Irwin wants to close the market down and have it replaced by a mall, in a deal he has with some Russian crooks. Everyone is looking to Mrs Brown to be strong and not give up her precious stall but unless she can prove that the taxes were paid, she is going to have to close down.
Now I admit, I have never watched a complete episode of Mrs. Brown’s Boys and can only comment on the movie and on this evidence, I don’t think I want to see the TV show. No, that’s a lie. I would be curious to see what all the fuss is about because if the jokes are as flat and miss-timed as they are here, then the show must be terrible. This really did feel old-fashioned and sometimes rather desperate.With a TV show, you do get the audience laughter to help you along the way but even with obvious gaps where the audience are supposed to laugh, here no one did.
I couldn’t put my finger on it. Why wasn’t this funny? Brendan O’Carroll, who created and plays the matriarchal title character, seems to have tapped into something for him to have his show recommissioned several times over, to put on a sell-out stage production and now to have a movie made, yet I couldn’t see the appeal. A woman who is so blatantly been inspired by the Music Hall act Old Mother Riley, who has a potty mouth and yet everyone loves her just feels so dated and so the film comes at you like the old 70’s TV spin-off like Mutiny On The Buses or Are You Being Served: The Movie. All it needed was an advert before telling us about an Indian restaurant just 50 yards from this cinema.
With a wafer thin plot, we get Blind ninjas, Russian tough guys who cannot stop Mrs Brown and a barrister with tourettes (in fact the funniest moment as played by Robert Bathurst), the film tries everything to raise a smile: old-fashioned jokes, clumsy slapstick and, what definitely smacks of desperation, the inclusion of the cast making mistakes, which seem forced and out-of-place, thus slowing the whole thing down. Mrs Brown breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience but all of these tricks just don’t work because the jokes aren’t funny enough, the slapstick infantile and as for the rest, it left me bemused.
The only time the film really seemed genuine was a heart-felt speech about Dublin and for that brief few minutes, I was sold. Then it went back to the routine.
I am sure that fans of the show will enjoy this just as much as they do when they watch it on TV (although they have to remember that this is a public place and not their living room, so watch it without the verbal commentary, as some were doing in the screening I attended) but it just lack the strength of a cast confident to deliver a punchline without it leaving the sound of silence. Maybe it should have stayed on TV and not ventured out into the bigger world, as it just didn’t work.