The Harry Hill Movie (PG)

Film image
Steve Bendelack

The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner21/12/2013

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 88 mins

The Harry Hill Movie sounds endearingly weird and fun on paper but that sadly doesn't translate to the screen and the end result is short on ideas, badly paced and painfully unfunny, though there are just enough decent moments to save it from a one star kicking.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steve Bendelack (whose TV comedy credentials are not in question), The Harry Hill Movie is a big screen outing for surreal comedian Harry Hill, in which Harry and his petrol-drinking Nan (Julie Walters) discover that their beloved pet hamster (voiced by Johnny Vegas) is terminally ill, so they take him on a road trip to Blackpool so he can see the lights and the tower before he dies. However, unbeknownst to Harry, they are being pursued by a poorly disguised vet (Simon Bird) and his burly, cross-dressing henchman (Guillaume Delaunay), who are trying to kidnap Abu for Harry's evil twin brother Otto (Matt Lucas), who was abandoned as a child and raised by Alsatians.

Along the way, they stop for a several song and dance numbers and meet a variety of quirky characters including a launderette attendant (Jim Broadbent, dragged up to look like Dot Cotton), novelty act The Dachshund Five and a family of undersea shell people (don't ask), one of whom (Sheridan Smith as Michelle) falls in love with Harry.

The Good
To be fair, there are just enough off-the-wall touches to save this from one star ignominy - highlights include Jim Broadbent's bizarre turn as Cleaner, the inspired hamster name joke, a musical number in the style of Les Miserables and a number of good throwaway lines (some clearly added in post), as well as the occasionally amusing non-sequitur from Walters, such as “Of course, Jesus backwards is Susej [pronounced sausage]”.

Similarly, Harry is a likeable comic presence, though you can't help wishing he'd dissect his own film with the same comedy to-camera looks and remarks that he uses on TV Burp (the cutaway editing on the TV show is frequently inspired, but there's none of that in evidence here). However, the puppet work on Abu is surprisingly good and Julie Walters is superb as Nan, delivering a committed, characterful comedy performance that is much better than the film deserves.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that it just isn't funny enough – the jokes are repetitive and frequently feel forced, while several painfully unfunny ideas (a boxing match, a series of songs about mundane places, the whole bit with the shell people) are allowed to drag on interminably. The film is also curiously low on Harry's standby comedy staples (to camera asides, getting hit in the face with a variety of fluids), although there is an early flurry of green vomit gags, if you like that sort of thing.

Worth seeing?
Despite a handful of decent off the wall moments, Harry Hill The Movie is ultimately something of a disappointment thanks to a lazy script and poor pacing.

Film Trailer

The Harry Hill Movie (PG)
The Harry Hill Movie has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 22/07/2018 04:06

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