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UKScreen Rating:

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Donald (Threlfall) is a psychotic loner, whose only dream in life it to carry out what might be euphemistically referred to as an obscene sex act with Julie Andrews, involving a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey flavour ice-cream.
The closest he gets is a rather feeble attempt at a Julie Andrews lookalike who shares his passion for Chunky Monkey.
She’s popping round this evening, but Donald can’t get himself ready, because after he brutally murders the owner of his local curry house, for failing to send him a Christmas card, his attempts to dispose of the body are persistently interrupted by a range of w-w-wacky friends, neighbours and strangers turning up on his doorstep, offering him everything from tea and cake to miracles.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

If that sounds like a bit of a mess, I’ve made it sound much better than it really is.
This film’s only selling point is the fact that it’s taken five years to get from the set to the big screen (and even then, only for one week and on one screen), because the film-makers have had to fight off no fewer than five legal actions – including one from Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream and another from Julie Andrews herself.
Watching it, one could be mistaken for thinking that the plaintiffs had altruistic motives for their actions, to save the British public from an hour and a half of embarrassing boredom to which a succession of judges has foolishly subjected us.
One might think that the film-makers begged everyone to sue them, to ensure that they got at least some media coverage.
A number of good actors have done the best they can with what must have been about the worst material they’ve had the misfortune to encounter. And as a treat for the viewers, the camerawork is sloppy and sometimes out of focus, the lighting is almost all over-exposed or too dark and the sound is mostly distorted.
Then there’s the “special” effects – special only in so far as when people are shot at point blank range, no entry wound is visible – only a little squirt of ketchup appears on the wall.
I don’t even need to say that story is minimal, and what plot is there is as predictable as the characters are clichéd – the prostitute, the uncouth lout, the sleazy lounge singer, the well-meaning neighbour, the skin-head evangelistic Christians and their reincarnation of Jesus as a black man – OK, so that’s where formula gives way to mindless surrealism.
There are a few humorous moments, but they’re largely cheap gags that would have trouble finding a laugh outside a group of drunken low-lives after last orders.
Set almost entirely in one room, it’s so claustrophobic, you’re screaming to get out of the cinema long before the end. Even at 88 minutes, this seems interminably drawn out.
I’ve seen family videos which look like they were shot on bigger budgets – and with more intelligence and care.

Opens for a week at the Genesis cinema in Mile End on 5 August 2005

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