Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie (DVD)

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Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie (DVD)

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45% positive

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Review of "Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie (DVD)"

published 23/08/2017 | afy9mab
Member since : 11/07/2000
Reviews : 1479
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About me :
All of my DVD reviews are film only, so do not include pricing information. If you have time, please read and rate my Batman V Superman review.
Not for me
Pro It's short.
Cons Casual racism, ancient jokes, wafer-thin plot, wooden acting.
exceptional
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Characters / Performances
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"D'readful"

FILM ONLY REVIEW

Mrs Brown’s fruit and veg stall comes under attack from unscrupulous property developers and their bully boys, not to mention the taxman. But she isn’t going to give up without a fight.

Surprising as it may seem, I had never seen “Mrs Brown’s Boys” before watching this film, so I didn’t really have any expectations. All I knew was that the sitcom was very popular and that it featured a man in drag playing an old lady. I should probably have realised this wasn’t going to be the movie for me when I walked into the cinema and discovered that the vast majority of the audience were a good twenty to thirty years older than me.

Like every film I have ever seen that has been adapted from a sitcom, the production suffers from a lack of scope. Although the main character makes a big deal of whipping down the backdrop and proclaiming “This is d’movie”, before revealing the front door opens onto a real street in Ireland, it always feels more like a feature-length TV special than a bona fide movie. It too often resorts to cheap sets and underpopulated locations to represent the bustling city of Dublin. Veteran sitcom director Ben Kellett’s style is perfunctory at best. A few touristy views of Ireland’s capital city are his only concessions to creating a bigger world for the characters to inhabit. Throughout, it feels as though we are simply watching a load of tired sitcom actors going through the motions and waiting for studio audience laughs that never come. Although Kellett is named as the director, star Brendan O’Carroll appears to be the one calling the shots. Everything seems to have been engineered to give him the greatest amount of screen-time, regardless of whether or not it serves the slim story.

The plotting and the character development rely on stereotypes and clichés. There is no way to buy into the world of the characters because outtakes are incorporated into the narrative (which I believe is a device that is used in the TV series) and the main protagonist constantly breaks the fourth wall by talking directly to the camera. While these devices might work on the small screen with a live studio audience, they look unprofessional when scaled up and bring the paper-thin plot to a shuddering halt. I found it impossible to care about any of the characters. They are coarsely written stereotypes, who turn up and do that thing they always do or say that thing they always say, without ever developing a personality. In addition, the main protagonist is clearly aware that she is in a TV show, so she’s never believable.

The comedy in the film harks back in the worst way to the sitcoms of the 1970s, thanks to an alarming streak of casual racism. An Indian trader is mistaken for a Jamaican on the basis of his skin-tone, while O’Carroll squints and wears yellowface as a karate instructor called Mr Wang, replete with ‘comedy’ Chinese accent. In addition, the only gay character is presented as a screamingly camp stereotype. It was very much NOT my cup of tea. The slapstick is poorly timed and the jokes are repetitive and beyond obvious. I don’t think I laughed once during the film, but my eyes hurt from rolling them in disbelief after a while…

The casting seems determined not by ability, but by how closely related to the lead the actors are. O’Carroll’s wife, sister, sons, daughter and brother-in-law all make appearances in big roles, which did little to convince me of their talents. The tone lurches from coarse to mawkish, while the sloppy pacing suggests that the filmmakers are leaving gaps for the audience reaction (which in my case was a lot of sighing and wondering why I’d bothered). Although the film is only ninety-four minutes long, it seemed never-ending to me.

O’Carroll’s screenplay is weak. The central plot thread sees the titular character fending off various threats to her market stall business. These include dealing with a huge tax bill (perhaps O’Carroll is just writing what he knows), her well-educated daughter not wanting to take over the family business (and I can see why) and thugs sent by a rapacious property developer. It is mainly an excuse for a series of loosely interlinked sketches that rely on pantomime humour of the man-in-drag pratfalling variety. The central premise may have filled a single episode of “Mrs Brown’s Boys”, but is stretched too thin over a feature length. Both the jokes and the attitudes are so old-fashioned, they could be carbon dated; remember that all change is bad, that it is better to please you parents than please yourself and that no one should try to better themselves through education. But most of all, remember that a man in drag running around, falling over and saying ‘feck’ a lot is hilarious…A last-ditch attempt to humanise the main character feels like a clumsy and calculated appeal for unearned sympathy. Meanwhile, a lengthy climactic speech belly-flops into misplaced sentiment, in one of many juddering shifts of tone.

The characterisation is lazy because it trades in stereotypes. The titular character is one of those redoubtable working-class women so beloved of sitcoms. The problem is that she is presented as a drag act and slapstick stooge, so it’s impossible to care about her or the other stereotypes around her. These include dotty old lady sidekick Winnie McGoogan, dim-witted petty criminal Buster Brady, the ambitious, grown-up child trying to break with tradition (Mrs Brown’s daughter Cathy) and the befuddled priest. The rest of the locals are the usual salt-of-the-earth types, who are barely distinguishable from one another. The cast also includes a barrister with Tourette’s, a group of blind ninjas and the kind of horrific Asian stereotype performed by Mickey Rooney in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. The baddies are faceless men in suits, who don’t care about the little guy and want to bulldoze Moore Street market to make way for a shopping centre. They are aided by a bunch of mildly threatening Russian thugs. The script puts the ‘dire’ in dialogue, with its combination of ancient jokes, swearing and sickly sentiment.

Brendan O’Carroll plays Mrs Brown as a glorified pantomime dame, mugging to the camera and attempting audience interaction with viewers who can’t answer back. I found his self-aggrandising turn wearing and strangely smug. The less said about his secondary role as the karate-chopping Mr Wang, the better. O’Carroll’s real-life wife Jennifer Gibney plays his on-screen daughter, Cathy, which gives their exchanges a weird quality. But as earnest as Gibney is, she’s no great actress. Eilish O’Carroll (the lead’s sister) is amateurish as daffy Winnie McGoogan, while Danny O’Carroll clearly only got cast as dipstick Buster Brady because of who his dad is. “Cold Feet” star Robert Bathurst at least sounds suitably plummy as barrister Maydo Archer, while Sorcha Cusack’s appearance as a judge says nothing positive about the state of her career. There are also perplexing cameos from the likes of Eamonn Holmes and Keith Duffy from Boyzone.

The original music by Andy O’Callaghan consists of a number of sitcom style stings that noodle along in the background without adding much in terms of mood or emotional content. The other soundtrack choices include various themes from other movies and TV programmes, including “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”, “The Pink Panther Theme”, Elmer Bernstein’s “The Great Escape” and “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis and “The A-Team” theme by Mike Post. But instead of making me laugh, as they were intended to, they simply reminded me of things I would rather be watching. There are also very on-the-nose uses of “She’s a Lady” by Tom Jones and “You Raise Me Up” by Westlife. All in all, it felt like very slapdash musical accompaniment.

I absolutely despised “Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie”. I thought the direction was lazy because the director was beholden to his star. I found the writing tiresome, derivative and offensive in places. The acting is shambolic and instead of looking charmingly ramshackle, the whole production came across as amateurish. I didn’t go into this film as a fan of Mrs Brown and I certainly didn’t leave as one. I thought the whole project was a tired and cynical cash-in determined only to take money from the TV series’ fans. But I think even they would be hard pressed to love this dog’s breakfast of a spinoff.

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Comments on this review

  • danielalong published 03/09/2017
    E x
  • catsholiday published 30/08/2017
    I agree total rubbish
  • anonymili published 30/08/2017
    vh
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Product Information : Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Classification: 15 years and over

EAN: 5053083007287

DVD Region: DVD

Production Year: 2013

Main Language: English

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Listed on Ciao since: 13/07/2014