Delightfully funny biopic of legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.
Laurel and Hardy are one of those instantly recognisable greats of the entertainment industry, even if you haven’t actually watched any of their movies you will know who they are and no doubt be able to whistle their catchy little theme tune.
Starring Steve Coogan as Stan and John C Reilly as Ollie This movie follows the duo after the making of their ‘Way Out West’ movie in 1937, so it covers the later stages of their fledgling career and how they both struggled to come to terms with the break up of their partnership.
Its an interesting insight into the fickleness of Hollywood back then in the fact it mentions that none of the rights of the pictures are actually owned by Laurel and Hardy.
Although always the butt of the joke, the fall guy and often thought of as the not so intelligent one this shows how the complete opposite is true of Stan Laurel. Frustrated with the studio not willing to renegotiate a better and fairer contract once his ends he is released from the studio while Oliver Hardy still has a while to run. Stan writes constantly for the duo and works tirelessly to find something new for them to work on once they are both free of the studio. However Oliver carries on, makes a movie with another partner and Stan is left a little bitter and without a job or creative outlet.
It takes 16 years for them to come together again and this is the main story-line of this film.
Stan has found a UK company seemingly willing to make a new Robin Hood film with the duo and he has enlisted the help of a UK Promoter to put together a Laurel and Hardy tour to prove to the movie studio there is still an audience for them so it’s a sound investment. Obviously things don’t quite go the way they should.
For me I feel like this movie is more about Stan. Steve Coogan plays him wonderfully in a role I would imagine he was honoured to play.
Seeing some of the more famous skits performed in this movie you can see how they influenced some of Coogans own comedy creations. I never realised before seeing this that he was the one that wrote everything for the duo, he came up with the ideas for the movies, wrote the scripts, came up with the routines literally everything. He even continued to write for Laurel and Hardy after Ollies death.
There were some classic scenes recreated for this movie, the funny dance from ‘Way Out West’ and ‘Trail of the Lonesome Pine’ being the most notable. And they were an absolute delight to watch. Although there is some sad tragic parts of this movie there are also some real laugh out loud moments – to be expected from a movie about comedians. A lot funnier than I was expecting. There’s a scene when they check into a guesthouse and keep ringing the bell – genuinely laughed so much I thought I was going to wee myself!
A lot of the humour comes from the wives too. They’re a double act themselves. Stans wife Eva being my favourite. She’s brutally honest but charming with it.
I really enjoyed this film and can see why it’s been nominated for so many BAFTAS this week. It’s a charming and funny story, beautifully acted. It really shows why Stan and Ollie are so beloved.
My only criticism is that I would have liked to see a little more about the start of their career, more of an entire biopic rather than focusing on what was essentially a small and not so productive part of their lives. Other than that it’s definitely the best film I’ve seen this week.
Don’t forget to tune in to the breakfast show on Friday to hear about this weeks new releases and film news.