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Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

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For anyone who doesn’t know the story of Top Hat, it centres on Broadway sensation Jerry Travers, who falls hard for society girl Dale Tremont, and dances his way from Broadway to London to Venice in order to win her heart. A case of mistaken identity causes all sorts of problems, but there is so much fun to be had on the way.

Having seen and loved the 1935 film, and also seen the West End stage show production (on tour), I can safely say that this is one of my favourite musicals, because it’s impossible to watch it and not feel happy. The songs will make you smile, the storyline is both romantic and extremely funny, and the dancing is spectacular.

All of this means that it is no mean feat for an amateur dramatics company to take on, but South Staffs Musical Theatre Company have taken on many such productions in their long history and are never found wanting.

Watching it, I was mesmerised by Harry Simkin and Fiona Winning, who played Jerry and Dale (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers famously played the roles in the film, and Tom Chambers debuted the role of Jerry when it was made into a stage musical). Simkin and Winning are 17 and 16 respectively, but you would think they had been singing and dancing for decades, such was their professionalism and obvious talent. I really felt as if I was watching two future stars.

Also must mention Dom Napier as Alberto Beddini, the wannabe rival for Dale’s heart, and John Wiley who played footman Bates. Both of these were in danger of stealing their scenes, and raised some huge laughs from the audience.

Overall, a wonderful show and another feather in the cap for the South Staffs Musical Theatre Company.

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Bob Munro (Robin Williams), his wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines) and their two children rent an RV for a holiday trip to Colorado, and predictably everything that can go wrong, does.

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Year of release: 2006

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Geoff Rodkey

Main cast: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth

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Genre: Comedy

Highlights: Robin Williams (of course), Jeff Daniels, some truly silly slapstick comedy

Lowlights: None really. It was never going to be a film to set the world on fire but it’s undemanding fun

Overall: I enjoyed it and would recommend it to fans of the Vacation movies and other movies of that ilk

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Year of release: 2008

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith

Main cast: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Gerry Bednob, Traci Lords, Jason Mewes, Katie Morgan

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Genre: Comedy

Highlights: So many laughs, but somehow also incredibly sweet

Lowlights: None! It was great

Overall: Definitely not one to watch with parents, but lots and lots of laughs, lots of raunchiness, and a sweet story too

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Year of release: 2018

Director: Ol Parker

Writers: Richard Curtis, Catherine Johnson, Ol Parker

Main cast: Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Cher, Lily James, Dominic Cooper, Andy Garcia, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Christine Baranski, Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan, Jeremy Irvine

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Genre: Comedy, musical

Highlights: Julie Walters steals the show, Colin Firth is getting more handsome by the day, the music

Lowlights: Fewer laughs, more poignancy, a lot of lesser well known Abba songs

Overall: An enjoyable sequel once you have got over the shock of the main character from the first film being dead (not a spoiler – this is revealed at the beginning)

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After getting his stash of pot stolen, small time dealer Dave (Jason Sudekis) is ordered by his boss to go to Mexico and smuggle pot back into the United States. Deciding that the best way to make himself look innocent while crossing the border is to take a fake family, he enlists the help of stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) to play his wife, geeky virgin Kenny  (Will Poulter) to play his son, and streetwise Casey (Emma Roberts) to play his daughter. However, things inevitably go awry and they find themselves chased by a drug lord and his henchman, and trying to avoid getting arrested.

I really liked this film a lot. It’s true that it was never going to win any major awards, but if you want a barrel of laughs – some definitely on the adult side – then this does nicely. Naturally there is some good-heartedness as the rag-tag bunch go from animosity and antagonism to actually starting to care about each other. Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn also showed up as a couple of fellow travellers, who get enmeshed in ‘The Millers’ adventures, and both were excellent. I belly laughed several times.

Overall, if you are looking for a light hearted comedy, and don’t mind some adult humour, I would highly recommend this film.

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Year of release: 2013

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writers: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris

Main cast: Jason Sudekis, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, Emma Roberts, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms, Molly Quinn, Matthew Willig, Tomer Sisley

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In this British comedy, Rufus Hound plays Raif Moyle, who is returning home to Cheshire to be the best man at his brother Tim’s (Robert Webb) wedding to Saskia (Lucy Punch). He decides to film the wedding preparations and the few weeks before the big day as his wedding present to the happy couple, but instead ends up capturing events as they spiral out of control. From Saskia’s society-obsessed mother (Harriet Walter) taking over the arrangements and ignoring her daughter’s wishes, and Saskia and Tim’s constant disagreements, it starts to look like the wedding might not even go ahead at all….

After watching this film I read some reviews, and was surprised that they were so scathing. In truth, had I read the reviews beforehand, I probably wouldn’t have even bothered watching, but as it is I’m glad I did watch it, because I really liked the whole thing. All three of the leads were great, especially Lucy Punch. Harriet Walter was unsurprisingly brilliant, and Miriam Margolyes had a small but excellent part as Saskia’s grandmother.

If you like British comedies, I would suggest ignoring the reviews and giving this one a go. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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Year of release: 2012

Director: Nigel Cole

Writer: Tim Firth

Main cast: Lucy Punch, Rufus Hound, Tim Webb, Harriet Walter

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Mike Gayle is known for his fiction writing, but he takes a foray into non-fiction here, and from my personal point of view, it’s a great success. Having finally decided it’s time to become a fully fledged grown-up, Gayle makes a to-do list which ends up with 1277 items (!) and gives himself a year to complete it. Some of the items are the kind of thing we will all be familiar with (such as sort out the drawer which is full of takeaway menus), and then there are a few more unusual items, one of which involves him flying to New York to buy a mug!

The book gives an insight into Gayle’s personal life, and his marriage to his lovely wife Claire. He comes across as likeable, genuine, and the sort of person who you would want to be friends with. I also felt a ripple of pleasure as Gayle lives in Birmingham, which is local to me, and there are several mentions of Wolverhampton, which is my home town.

If you are a fan of Mike Gayle’s fiction – or if you just like an amusing and daft story – then I highly recommend that you give this a go. Lots of laughs, and plenty of relatable moments make this a hugely enjoyable read.

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