Should I Watch..? 'Mrs Brown's Boys: D'Movie' (2014)
What's d'big deal?
Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie is a comedy spin-off film released in 2014 and is based around the popular TV show Mrs Brown's Boys. It stars Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Agnes Brown and features many of his own relatives in the cast, as they are on the show. It was a critical disaster, with Empire magazine stating that the film was "almost avant-garde in its commitment to unfunny" while Mark Kermode called it "an absolute stinker" and "not funny at any level at all". Despite this, the film was a moderate financial success in the UK and Ireland but the desire for a sequel appears muted as O'Carroll has stated that he wishes to move on to new projects. Which is something we can all be thankful for.
What's the craic?
Mrs Agnes Brown owns and operates a fruit and veg stall in Dublin's Moore Street market but bad times are on the horizon. The local politician, P.R. Irwin, has secretly arranged a deal with some Russian mobsters to take over the market, demolish it and build a large shopping centre instead. A number of stalls have already disappeared but Agnes remains resolute in her determination. However, when she is sent a large unpaid tax demand, she finally decides to sell. But her friend and neighbour Winnie McGoogan convinces her to stand her ground and she tries to organise the other traders to raise the money for her.
Meanwhile, Agnes' son Dermot and his best friend Buster Brady believe that the tax demand has already been settled by Agnes' grandmother and decide to acquire the receipt to prove it. As the Russians have already destroyed it, Buster and Dermot are forced to rely on a retired group of paramilitaries and a small team of blind ninjas in order to locate a receipt apparently written in Braile.
What's to like?
Very few TV sitcoms survive the move from the small screen to the big one and Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie is arguably one of the worst. Retaining only the cast from the show, the film at least shows us more of Dublin than we normally get to see. There is also an attempt to retain the bloopers that usually pop up in various episodes but in a film, it just feels amateurish.
Ermm... it is short but it doesn't feel it when you're watching it. It's probably best if you scroll down a bit...
- Despite negative reviews, the film topped the UK box office for two weeks upon release. It also topped the rental charts when it was released as well.
- Brendan O'Carroll secured an estimated £3.6 million in funding from Universal without having written a script.
- Although set in Dublin, the TV show on which this movie is based is actually filmed in Glasgow, Scotland.
What's not to like?
The script is painfully unfunny, despite the cast members all seeming to have a good time in the outtakes. Even the usual comedians like Danny O'Carroll and Rory Cowan try their hardest but nothing in the film works. Nothing. It's actually an achievement that this is the case, considering how funny the TV show is and that it's written by the same man. It even has the unthinkable in this day and age - O'Carroll doubles up as Mr Wang, the head of the blind ninjas but it's such a clumsy racist stereotype in the Mickey Rooney-mould, you suddenly feel like you're watching the film in 1953. My jaw hit the floor at such crass idiocy and then I got angry at the notion that someone, somewhere thought that I or anyone else might find such thoughtlessness amusing.
The script is jumbled and makes very little sense and doesn't even have the good grace to let the rest of the cast in - the likes of Pat Shields and Amanda Woods have nothing to do while the extended cast who normally appear in the odd show every now and again are apparently in there but I don't recall seeing any of them. The cameos are mainly lost on a UK audience who don't necessarily recognise the likes of Joe Duffy or Shane Byrne. It has no relation to what happens in the show - when did Mrs Brown acquire her fruit and veg stall because it's never mentioned on the show? Speaking of which, what happened to the two sets viewers are so familiar with - the ground floor of Mrs Brown's house and Foleys, the pub? We barely see them and all this does is alienate fans even more. Basically, it feels as though O'Carroll has taken Universal's money and stuck two fingers up at the rest of us. This is a drag of a film, in every sense of the word.
Should I watch it?
No. Even die-hard fans of the series will struggle to justify this terminally unamusing cock-up of a film which leaves the bitterest of aftertastes in your mouth. It's lazy, racist, crude and terribly old-fashioned, making it one of the worst comedies I've had to watch in the last decade. I would like to think that Ireland is a bit more developed culturally speaking if this is their best export. Personally, I'd rather drown in Guinness and for someone who doesn't drink, that's not a good way to go. Can we have our BAFTA back, Brendan?
Great For: the DVD makes an excellent coaster for your coffee cup!
Not So Great For: adults, children, people, pets, house plants, anything that can see or hear it
What else should I watch?
Anything but this. There are no shortage of TV shows trying to appear in cinemas near you but only a select few make the grade. One exception is The Inbetweeners which released its second movie around the same time. Alternatively, you could also try Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa which features Steve Coogan's most endearing comic character but personally, I don't find Coogan that funny. He's far better with Rob Brydon in the under-rated comedy The Trip.
Fans of political satire The Thick Of It will want to check out In The Loop which is just as foul-mouthed and tempered as its TV template. Or if you really want to punish yourself then might I suggest Guest House Paradiso which is based on the Rik Mayall & Ade Edmondson show Bottom. But trust me - that is not an endorsement of any kind as Guest House Paradiso could claim to be one of the absolute worst pieces of garbage I have ever seen!
Agnes Brown / Mr Wang
Release Date (UK)
27th June, 2014
© 2015 Benjamin Cox