My instincts warned me against this one. It's a spin-off of a Harry Enfield sketch show. However the silly project I've set myself is to watch films made in 2000 and this qualifies. Fortunately I was wrong and it's quite good.
That's not to say that it's high art, mind you. It's Beavis and Butthead, basically. If you like that film, I'd have expected you to like this one too unless you're allergic to Harry Enfield. They're both based on the same joke. Look, moronic teenagers! They're pathetic, sex-mad and use words not because of their literal meaning but merely as an emotional barometer. "This is the worst/best holiday of my life!" "That is so unfair!" Of course "unfair" is defined as anything that isn't exactly what they want right now. They're parasites, feeding off their parents like leeches while at the same time regarding them as sub-human and abusing them at every opportunity (although they're polite to other people's parents). The main difference between them and Beavis and Butthead is the extent to which they're defined by their relationships with their families, but otherwise they're on a par for brains, maturity and favourite topics of conversation.
This works. Surprisingly, it works. Somehow they're ghastly without making you want to stop watching them, although the plot is perhaps struggling a little to reach feature film length. So that's another similarity with Beavis and Butthead, then. Nevertheless it made me laugh quite a lot and there's a fairly impressive range of jokes. Enfield's fantasies are very funny, especially with regards to parental sex. There's embarrassment comedy, which had me cringing. In particular their chat-up techniques are hysterical, although that probably goes without saying.
There's also some inspired teenage myopia. "You do not like Oasis!"
Crucially, I think I liked them. Obviously they're barely sentient and they're lucky their parents haven't murdered them yet, but there's no harm in them. On the contrary, they're a bit like Wile E. Coyote in the way that time after time they'll crash and burn in the most appalling ways, but then pick themselves up and gamely go on trying. In the end, they're kind of sweet.
There are some interesting names involved. It's directed by Ed Bye, who I love for giving us Red Dwarf
. Of the two stars, Harry Enfield (Kevin) is basically a comedian, but Kathy Burke (Perry) won a Best Actress award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and these days for almost a decade now has been focused on directing. Oddly she looks more convincing as a teenage boy than Enfield does. She's a blob, basically. Other well-known actors and comedians here include Rhys Ifans, Paul Whitehouse and James Fleet, who I couldn't place until I looked him up afterwards and saw that he'd been Tom in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Realism is regularly bent. You can't take literally the violent priapism, stalactites of drool or regimented comedy Germans. (It's a cheap gag, but funny.) However this is a film in which two teenage boys are being played by a man and a woman born in 1961 and 1964 respectively, making them only a few years younger than the actors playing Enfield's parents. Somehow I don't think realism was a concern.
This isn't a sophisticated film, but that doesn't make it stupid. On the contrary, it's far more entertaining than it might have been, especially given the track record of movies based on TV shows. (Did anyone see League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse? I've heard quite a spectrum of opinions on that one.) This film isn't afraid of low humour, e.g. vomit, poo and zit-squeezing gags, but I'm afraid these too made me laugh. What can I say? The girls' beauty treatment especially was a scream. Seriously, I was quite impressed. This film keeps up its grotesquery and energy for eighty minutes and made me laugh quite a lot. Better than you almost certainly think it's going to be.
Nice closing credits, by the way.