The Stag review (Blu-ray)

Stag dos – known as bachelor parties in the US and buck's nights in Australia – are rather strange ceremonies. They're a way of "celebrating" a man's pending nuptuals by getting him blind drunk and often shaving parts of his body that should not really be shaved. All done in the spirit of "mateship". Ah, we men are strange creatures.

The lovely little low-budget indie Irish comedy The Stag is a much more restrained affair. There are no hookers, no strippers, no firetrucks, no druken debauchery, and very little drug-taking. It's the story of Fionnan (O'Conor), about to marry Ruth (Huberman). He's a theature designer, and somewhat of a metrosexual; and unusually for a man, very involved in his wedding preparations.

He's not interested in the slightest in having a stag weekend, but Ruth convinces best man Davin (Scott) to organise one and make sure Fionnan turns up, and so the mates gather for a weekend walk in the wilds of Wicklow. There's a slight spnner thrown in the works, though, when Ruth's macho, alpha-male, ex-military brother The Machine (co-writer McDonald) invites himself along.

There's nothing very new here, but it's all done with verve and a cheeky Irish sense of fun. It's much tamer than your standard film of this genre – it's not a raunchy gross-out comedy like the type Hollywood is so fond of. The humour is gentle, and that works very much in The Stag's favour. The cast of mainly unknowns – although Scott has been in TV's Sherlock – do well with the material, and it all moves along at a nice pace.

There are no big belly laughs, but more wry amusement at the silly blokey antics (the guys all do end up naked). It's a slightly bittersweet tale of male bonding and learning and growing, but does feel a undercooked at times, and a couple of the characters don't really get a lot to do. Still, despite its flaws, The Stag is a fun little flick that certainly won't leave you with a hangover.

EXTRAS ★★ Interviews with the cast members (10:06); an interview with lead actor Andrew Scott (3:30); London West End Premiere featurette (4:15); Premiere Footage (2:23); and Premiere Reactions from audience members (1:18).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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