The Harry Hill Movie review (Blu-ray)

In the right hands, "silly" comedy can be hilarious. In the wrong hands it can be awkward, boring and simply not funny. The Harry Hill Movie has plenty of silly, but is painfully shy on laughs.

The plot revolves around the large-collared comedian’s pet hamster Abu (voiced by Vegas), who Harry believes only has one week left to live. Wanting to give him the best send off imaginable, Harry and his Nan (Walters) take their furry friend on a trip to Blackpool. What Harry doesn’t realise is that Abu’s illness is all a ruse masterminded by his evil twin brother Otto (Lucas) and implemented by his buffoon henchmen Vet (Bird) and Kisko (Delaunay). Otto’s plan is to kidnap Abu for his own live-statue hamster world, as revenge for being left by the side of the road as a youngster by Nan to be raised by wild Alsatians.

Just let that sink in for a moment… OK.
 
As mentioned before, "silly" is the word of the day here. The Mighty Boosh is an excellent example of British comedy using bizarre and outlandish stories, but doing so with a consistent style and ethos. You know what you’re going to get even if you don’t know exactly what to expect. That it's co-creator Barratt features here as Boosh-esque character Conch – the leader of the sea-shell people whose young are being sold as tacky souvenirs – shows the kind of humour Hill means to tap into, but director Bendelack and writers Lamont and Foster don’t come close to delivering the same barmy hilarity.

Unlike Boosh, there’s no real consistency in the humour of the story being told. It’s a patchwork of lightweight, ill-conceived sketches akin to someone telling you a bad joke, then trying to tell you another to make up for it. And then another. And another. Eventually digging a hole so deep there’s no gag funny enough that could possibly get them out.

Of course, all this is from a sober adult’s point of view. It might be masterpiece viewing if that viewing is beer/bong assisted, but not likely. The Harry Hill Movie plays out like a cross between a live-action Scooby Doo caper and a bawdy pantomime. So there is a chance children might see the value in its humour, but those children might barely be of speaking age. Anyone older than that may not thank you for putting this flatliner on their TV screen.

In fact, you can almost see some of the cast wish they weren’t on there either. How and why Broadbent came to be involved as a drag cleaning lady is beyond baffling. His presence is not even played for laughs, he’s just… there, dressed as a woman. Smith starring as Conch’s daughter Michelle (get it) looks decidedly uncomfortable in her full-body seashell outfit, and Bird as the conniving Vet does the best he can with what he’s given but clearly doesn’t revel in it.

The other half of his double act, the larger than life Delaunay, does actually throw everything in to his thankless, speechless role of Kisko. He’s dressed up in various (awful) disguises throughout the film but he steals every scene that he’s in. Walters and Lucas, particularly the former, are also fully committed to their roles, but sadly even these great performers can’t rescue this dud.

While it’s great to see British TV comedy such as this, Alan Partridge and The Inbetweeners getting feature film outings, only die-hard Hill fans will take anything from this. Maybe.

EXTRAS None

Mark Brennan

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