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|The All Together|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir-scr Gavin Claxton|
with Martin Freeman, Danny Dyer, Velibor Topic, Corey Johnson, Richard Harrington, Amanda Abbington, Ian Thompson, Nicky Read, Jamie Kenna, Charles Edwards, Jonathan Ryland, Alexandra Gilbreath
release UK 11.May.07
Meet the fans: Freeman and Harrington
First-time filmmaker Claxton struggles valiantly all the way through this film to blend a crime farce with a media satire. But the result is virtually unwatchable.
Chris (Freeman) is a TV writer annoyed by both his clueless flatmate Bob (Topic) and the self-involved host (Harrington) of his humiliating reality show. One day Chris heads to work, leaving Bob to show the house to some estate agents. Big mistake. Especially when an American gangster (Johnson) and his British contact (Dyer) pull up at random, looking for a toilet and then sparking a crazed hostage situation. If Chris thinks today has been particularly terrible at work, just wait until he gets home.
The film opens well, with a slightly too-knowing voiceover that pokes fun at the cliches of the Brit-com genre. And Freeman is an engaging presence, playing the role with endearing authenticity. We can easily identify with the feeling that life is spiralling out of control and would be much nicer without these morons around us. Alas, the morons around him are cartoon characters, from Topic's smirking slob with his pornographic taxidermy projects to Harrington's arrogant grade-z celebrity.
The gangsters are even worse. Johnson has one of recent cinema's most embarrassing roles ever (say no more), while Dyer is fine even though he hasn't bothered to change costume or attitude from his last crime romp. So what starts as a witty look at British film and television quickly devolves into everything we hate about British film and television: it's derivative, under-developed and amateurishly filmed. The camera work and editing here are fairly shocking. Claxton clearly had no time or money for rewrites, reshoots or anything that might have salvaged this mess.
The result is a deeply unfunny comedy that hinges on ill-conceived plot points that all involve transport problems or bodily functions. The story gets increasingly inexplicable, while Claxton demonstrates a dismissive cynicism that's hard to stomach. When he defines light entertainment as "comedy for people with no sense of humour", it's a funny gag. But it also demonstrates contempt for viewers who really shouldn't have to suffer through movies this terrible.
|justin howard, norwich: "resonably good british film for a first timer producer gavin claxon. not the best but i have seen a lot worse." (11.May.08)|
© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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