What the feck did I just watch?
Brendan O’Carroll is back as Ireland’s favourite Mammy, Agnes Brown. Better than ever and on the big screen? Tragically, no. Maybe Mrs Brown should have stayed on the small screen.
Now I know, that’s not nice. I am actually a fan of the TV show and got caught up in the craze that was Mrs Brown’s Boys. Critics slated it back then, despite huge success and ratings. However, this time round, this sluggish effort gives quite a few of the critics’ justification.
I went in, wanting to like this but my lord, I always thought that a number of sitcoms had that irritating canned laughter as an act of desperation to make the jokes sound better. Not the audience I was sitting with. I felt like I was sitting in an Andy Millman audience from Extras. Laughing at the littlest thing. I mean, they were just laughing at O’Carroll dressed as Mrs Brown, for fecks sake. I mean, come on. He’s been doing it for three years now.
If you are not familiar with Mrs Brown’s Boys, do not see this as an introductory course. You’ll just sit there thinking why do those crazy English like this so much? And that’s the problem with translating TV to film; it doesn’t always work.
So many sitcoms have tried in the past and failed, bar the Inbetweeners Movie (which wasn’t perfect), Mr Bean (minus the sequel) and Kevin and Perry Go Large. Unfortunately, this was a case of best bits in the trailer and even those bits weren’t laugh out loud or that particularly brilliant anyway.
O’Carroll had found a winning formula back on the small screen. It wasn’t subtle or particularly clever. But it was funny, entertaining and most importantly . . . FUNNY! It felt like he knew he would be onto a winning horse and just slapped anything together, thinking “Well, they’ll go see it anyway. Who gives a feck?”.
It has a couple of moments. But that’s it. Moments. Some of his zippy one liners still manage to crack a much needed smile in this stale treat. I mean the little bits may bring a tut but a guilty grin all the same. Dermot Crowley’s (Luther) character Keep a PRIC in power. Sloppy satire but a chuckle none the same.
To be honest, it was such a mess that for every good gag (and there weren’t many), we had to endure drawn out unfunny dialogue and a feeble attempt at trying to make social commentary. Even the family moments bar one scene with O’Carroll and Jennifer Gibney (his wife) who strangely plays his daughter Kathy, seemed hammy and desperate.
It was an endearing moment but didn’t seem to fit in this film. The format that brought three successful series didn’t really work. The scenes where they messed up their lines seemed forced to get a cheap laugh. One did get a guilty laugh.
Not even the OTT moments were that great, just desperate and still unfunny. The gag with some blind ninjas went on far too long. It was great to see some TV personalities showing up. I mean Eamon Holmes, it was a little obvious. Robert Bathurst (you may recognise him from Downton Abbey) as a solicitor with Tourette’s was unexpected and did bring the laughs.
Ironically, the last 20 minutes did seem to find a pocket for some gags that did manage to make me less angry and disappointed. The exact length each TV ep was, near enough. Maybe the feature length was a challenge and it felt like one.
Not even Winnie (Eilish O’Carroll) and Buster (Danny O’Carroll), two of the better characters, couldn’t save the day. Interesting, both are Brendan’s real life sister and son. Buster certainly got the most laughs but even his moments weren’t that great.
I just felt that O’Carroll went for lazy stereotyping. The shady Russians were incredibly clichéd and bland. His impression of a Chinese kung fu master got a few frowns. And the legendary Grandad reuniting with his old IRA cronies was a little stereotypical and felt a bit desperate that it had to lead to another IRA gag after avoiding it for all three TV series. But it did get a cheeky gag involving a colleague with Parkinson’s and a ticking bomb.
Rory and the Channel swim was cringeworthy and seeing running away, squealing again. It felt repetitive and that Borat swim suit. There’s an image that will haunt my dreams for nights to come.
The play on names worked to some extent. Guilty punnery. I mean, come on. Tom Crewes and Irma Byke. The moment in Ol’ Agnes is dripping wet then miraculously dry the next. Cue a cheeky exchange at the camera, “I love the movies” worked.
But for every little cheap titter, there’s just a bad gag or a pointless one. I mean the dance number at the beginning? What the feck was that all about? And that’s all I kept asking myself. At times, I felt like I was watching a really bad amateur adult panto.
Maybe it’s time for O’Carroll to hang up the wig. Stop milking the cash cow because the udders were well and truly dry on this one.
Currently ranked 183 out of 196!