Harry Hill is a bit of a love him or loathe him comedian, and so it’s no surprise that a film he wrote and stars in is the same. However the problem is that his current main fanbase knows him from his television show TV Burp, and while that serieswas silly and sometimes surreal, it never really showed quite how nuts he can be when left to his own devices.
Harry plays himself (or at least his usual big-collared character), who lives with his Nan (Julie Walters) and a talking hamster called Abu (voiced by Johnny Vegas). When he takes Abu to the Vet, Harry thinks his pal only has a week to live and so decides to take him on a trip to Blackpool. However what he doesn’t realise is that he’s actually caught up in a plan by his evil twin brother (Matt Lucas), who wants revenge.
The whole thing is completely insane, with barely a minute going by without something completely nuts happening, whether it’s the introduction of living seashell people or Jim Broadbent showing up in drag. The whole thing plays out like a live-action, absurdist cartoon, which makes very little sense, but it doesn’t matter too much because it lives in its own incredibly strange world.
There’s no doubt that many people will hate it, as it is incredibly stupid, and if you don’t have an appreciation for the surreal and absurd you’ll undoubtedly think it’s pretty juvenile. However, much of it is actually smarter than it looks, and while by no means a masterpiece those who enjoy a trip into the odd will have a big smile of their face.
I’ve been a fan of Harry’s since his eponymous TV show in the 1990s (in fact I was almost hoping the film was going to have a badger parade), but despite lasting three seasons that series was hampered by bad reviews and low ratings. However the way it turned the world upside-down is much closer to The Harry Hill Movie than TV Burp. The latter show was massively successful and had plenty of surreal moments, but it never quite touched the complete insanity taking place in a self-contained world of the comedian’s own making.
Unfortunately for the movie it means that many going into this won’t really know what to expect, despite the fact the fact they consider themselves fans.
Just a quick look at the comments on IMDB reveals a stream of people saying ‘I loved TV Burp but this is rubbish’. It just goes to show the problem when a comedian doesn’t do exactly what’s expected of them after mainstream success. Luckily though, those who ‘get’ Hill’s brand of the bizarre and the way he’s able to link things together in unexpected, surreal and yet oddly fitting ways will have a smile on their face all the way through the movie.
Overall Verdict: If you like comedy that revels in the absurd in an anarchic, gleefully silly and utterly random way, you’ll enjoy The Harry Hill Movie a lot. However those expecting the more toned down Harry of TV Burp may just get confused by a movie that makes little sense and constantly tries to outdo itself in how unexpectedly daft it can be.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac