Sex Lives of the Potato Men (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/02/2004

One out of Five stars
Running time: 83 mins

At least writer-director Andy Humphries came up with a good title (Confessions of a Potato Man might have been too obvious), because the rest of the film is a lifeless waste of time.

A racy sex comedy seems like a great idea at the moment, and yet Humphries goes horribly British on us, filling the screen with tittering tastelessness and gross-out set pieces. Everyone is at it all the time, but despite the 18 certificate, the film is just a lot of sniggering innuendo that takes all the fun out of sex. Even the Carry On films managed to be more arousing than this mess.

Four Brainless Guys

At the centre are four brainless guys who deliver potatoes to Birmingham chip shops: Dave (Johnny Vegas) is splitting up with his wife (Angela Simpson) and now looking forward to some wild sexcapades. Ferris (The Office's Mackenzie Crook) seems to sleep with every woman he meets, including his former mother-in-law (Kate Robbins). And her mother.

Jeremy (The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss) is obsessed to the point of stalking his ex-girlfriend (Lucy Davis, also from The Office). And Tolly (Dominic Coleman) has been left with some very strange obsessions after his wife dumped him.

There's not really a plot; the film just follows these four men through their differing rampant behaviour, most of which involves something deeply disgusting or embarrassing. This wouldn't be a problem if it was remotely funny, but the humour is flat and joyless.

Seriously Bad Sitcom

The cast charge gamely on, injecting moments of charm and one or two mild chuckles. But the film feels like an endless episode of a seriously bad sitcom as everyone pauses for a laugh track, only to be greeted by the deafening silence of the cinema, and maybe a few groans of disgust or boredom.

As it continues, it feels far longer than a mere 83 minutes. The film drains whatever good will you might have had in the silly early scenes with an unbelievably unfunny series of "climaxes" that don't work at all. It's also surprisingly mean-spirited about everything and everyone in it. And when the story stumbles to its conclusion, you'll feel like you need a bath.

All of this is a terrible shame, since a revival of this rowdy filmmaking style would be more than welcome. But the filmmakers need to remember that sex is fun, not disgusting. And that a comedy needs to actually make us laugh.

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Content updated: 22/10/2017 22:12

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