Sex Lives of the Potato Men
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Andy Humphries
with Johnny Vegas, Mackenzie Crook, Mark Gatiss, Dominic Coleman, Kate Robbins, Lucy Davis, Julia Davis, Angela Simpson, Nicola Reynolds, Helen Latham, Nick Holder, Barry Aird
release UK 20.Feb.04
04/UK 1h23

Sex-starved: Gatiss, Vegas, Crook and Coleman.

vegas crook
Sex Lives of the Potato Men Despite one of the best titles of the year, writer-director Humphries' attempt to revive the Confessions genre of 1970s sex romps is a complete disaster. Mostly because this film is neither sexy nor funny.

It centres on the antics of four brainless guys who deliver potatoes to Birmingham chip shops: Dave (Vegas) is in the process of splitting up with his wife (Simpson) and looking forward to some wild sex for a change. Ferris (Crook) seems to sleep with every woman he meets, including his landlady (Robbins), who's also his former mother-in-law. Jeremy (Gatiss) is still obsessed with the girl (Lucy Davis) who dumped him, to the point of kidnapping her dog. And Tolly (Coleman) has been left with some very strange obsessions after his wife left him, so turns to a chatline for help.

The title basically describes the film exactly. And before the titles are finished we've already been greeted with "hilarious" references to carrots, melons, gherkins, hot dogs and squirting ketchup. Reviving this genre isn't a bad idea, but these films aren't as easy to make as they appear. So while there are a few funny lines of dialog and a tiny whiff of charm in the cast, this is like a bad sitcom stretched on and on as it stumbles through each tasteless scene, literally scraping the barrel for laughs that never come. And despite a continuous stream of sex talk and sex scenes of every style imaginable, the film isn't remotely sexy. It has that oddly British ability to be rampant and overwhelmingly timid at the same time--every bed scene is played as slapstick, usually of the gross-out variety.

It couldn't be any more joyless really. The cast don't seem to understand that the film is a stinker, so they play their moronic characters fairly straight, almost pausing for the laughter as if it's a sketch show. But it's just an inept, mean-spirited movie (it's cruel to men and women in equal measure). And when it finally ends, after the longest 83 minutes of your life, you'll feel like you need a bath.

cert 18 themes, vulgarity, language, sex 16.Feb.04

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Sex Lives of the Potato Men Ben M, Anglesey, Wales: 5/5 "I am an 18 year old lad with a brain and morals, and I saw this film with six mates (two of them were girls), we were ALL in stitches from start to finish, and so was everyone else in the cinema. I've never laughed so hard or so long in my life and it felt great." (19.Mar.04)

Andy Jamieson, Milton Keynes: 5/5 "This is one of the funniest films of all time, the only thing funnier is reading all the po faced reviews, I think to a man all the critics have been had, they just dont get it! everyone Ive spoke to whos seen it feels the same - they all laughed so much as to cause physical injury. The Great Grandma scene with the granny from Little Britain finshed me off! Fantastic." (19.Mar.04)

Paul Genders, Macclesfield: 5/5 "I really do not understand why all the reviewers are hating this movie. It is a classic piece of comedy, very very funny. i laughed till i cried. I think the people that gave this film a bad review are the ones that think Sienfeld is a 'genius' piece of comedy work. Yeah right!" (16.Oct.05)

bob, wiltshire: 5/5 "What is all the fuss about? This is the funniest film I have seen for years. I almost wet myself with laughter. The critics have completely missed the point. The script is first class and the characters amazing. A must see film, though probably not with your granny!" (13.Nov.05)

Daddy-O, Portugal: 5/5 "I thought this film was great, the critics that gave this film bad reviews should get out more." (19.Apr.08)

2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall