Director: Nick Moore
Starring: David Walliams, Jessica Hynes, John Sessions, Izzy Meikle-Small, Olivia Colman, Amanda Holden
Written by: Paul Rose
Running Time: 87 mins
Release date: 18th July 2014
Halfway through this family monstrosity, during a bizarre rant by one of the characters, Pudsey the Dog, being voiced by David Walliams says “What is he going on about?” The same thing could be said about this absolutely dire film that tries, in vain, to capture the talent of the little dog who danced his way into the nation’s hearts on Britain’s Got Talent. In his first (and hopefully last) film, he’s dumped Ashleigh, his partner who helped him get through (although she wisely just helps with the training as well as a brief appearance in the equally awful out-takes sequence during the end credits) and goes it alone. Cute, he may be, but talented he’s not and neither is this terrible, terrible film.
Pudsey goes from appearing in a black and white film to wandering the streets of London as a stray, when he comes across a family made up of single mother, Gail; freaky daughter, Molly; game playing George and selective mute Tommy. They are heading into the country where Pudsey tries to bring them closer together as a family as well as stopping land owner, Mr Thorne, from turning a farm into a shopping mall.
It goes without saying that this is an incredibly amateurish production in which director Nick Moore seems to have decided that the material doesn’t need real direction so points the camera at the actor who speaking, throws in some effects, a montage or two to some of the worst songs this side of Aqua (in fact, that’s an insult to Aqua, so I apologise) and some unexplained sequences which would worry someone having a massive hallucination.
It’s a family film that insults families. I have seen enough family fare to know that this doesn’t just talk down to the kids but pats them on the head as well. The slapstick is more slapdash, which makes the Chuckle Brothers routines look almost avant-garde! So we get Pudsey running past people and without actually touching them, they fall over, usually into something messy. Oh how we laughed…NOT!
In case we can’t get enough of Pudsey’s comic antics, Moore then decides to add more talking animals in the style of Babe. Unlike Babe, this has no charm, no warmth and absolutely no wit. The moving mouths of the horses look like they’ve been drawn on by some 1st year art student and, hilarity upon hilarity, we have a pig who thinks he’s a chicken and thinks he’s laid an egg when he has laid a pile of poo. We know this because we get shots of it…several times.
It has rambling scenes that either make no sense or seem to be tacked on to make this incoherent mess longer. We have a scene involving a well, two of the kids and Pudsey. You will never guess what happens and the fact that just on hand is a rope! There’s another scene in which Pudsey dreams of chasing…a man dressed as a sausage. An uncooked one as well!
There’s a moral about being true to yourself which is rammed down our throats and yet five minutes later, its forgotten about but we still get plenty of sickening sentimentality that, again, seems out-of-place and contrived.
Then there’s the performances. The kids in this film are terrible. I mean really awful, with the exception of Izzy Meikle-Small as Molly who is marginally better than the rest, apart from the costume department dressing her up like a peacock, for that’s her weird character’s sense of dress. John Sessions, who I know is a master improviser and actor, gives us Mr Thorne like a cross between Uncle Monty from Withnail And I and Biggins! I can only think he must have sold his soul to the devil.
Jessica Hynes is about the only saving grace as mother Gail and yet you sit there watching her and thinking, ‘You are so much better than this! Get back together with Simon Pegg and make us laugh again!’ Finally, there’s Pudsey, who seems to have lost all his talent and spends the movie walking on his back legs. That’s it, nothing else! And occasionally longing to be both Lassie and Benji.
This screams of desperation and when surrounded by family films like How To Train Your Dragon 2, this is an embarrassment. It is sloppy, sickly and just a complete waste of film and those who worked on it should be ashamed of themselves. I never thought I’d say this but this is even worse than Walking On Sunshine AND Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie! I’m sure there’s an audience for this. Just not sure where!