The Harry Hill Movie Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst
There’s a moment in The Harry Hill Movie, where after a hilarious shootout with gun wielding chickens that I thought “Ok, maybe this film won’t be so bad”. How very wrong I was.
The Harry Hill Movie is an overlong dive into the wacky imagination of Mr Hill. And it overstays it’s welcome very quickly. The plot revolves around Harry’s pet hamster Abu (voiced by Johnny Vegas) who falls ill. Harry and his Nan (Julie Walters) dash to the vets only for the Vet (The Inbetweeners’ Simon Bird) to tell them that Abu only has a week to live. Horrified, Harry and his Nan decide to give him the best week ever by taking him… to Blackpool. Then we learn that Harry’s evil twin brother Otto (Matt Lucas) who was raised by Alsatians, plans to kidnap Abu for his own nefarious purposes and sends out his two henchmen to do the dirty work. And thus begins what is essentially a road trip movie done in Hill’s style.
Of course the plot takes detours. A malfunctioning Sat-Nav takes the three to Blackpole instead of Blackpool and this leads to even more detours including a stay at a hotel with singing staff, a tour of a nuclear power plant, a mutated Abu going on a rampage and an adventure with Shell people that goes on for a bit longer than necessary for what should be a one scene joke. There is literally nothing funny in this entire middle section. Not a single laugh escaped my lips. But when the group finally reach Blackpool, the film seems to regain a bit of charm. An all dog Jackson 5 tribute band called the Dachshund five and an escape from Walking brains through a Kitchen that parodies Jurassic Park. But even this is too little too late. The plot is just a mess. Sure, expecting a good plot from a Harry Hill film is a big leap but even then, too many detours make the plot just muddled.
Now of course, this is a comedy film. So surely some comedy is needed? Which leads me to my next point. When The Harry Hill Movie is funny, it’s very funny. But when it’s not it’s just plain not. Early on, the film is brilliantly funny. Hill’s trademark humour is present and correct and works just as well as ever. But then the humour takes a down turn. Things that should be funny just aren’t. A scene where the Evil Henchmen arrive at Harry’s house disguised as a priest and a nun pretending to be giving Abu his last rights is obviously a parody of The Exorcist, which is pretty funny. And then the characters have to quote The Exorcist just to let us know they are parodying The Exorcist which kills the joke. In other words, Don’t explain the joke.
Then the shell people are introduced. Okay, the idea of Shell people living on the beaches and having their children kidnapped and sold as novelty items to people is pretty funny. And then it drags on. And on. And on. And then I realised “Hang on, this is actually important to the plot? This isn’t just a short joke?”. This is the truth of The Harry Hill Movie. When it’s unfunny, it’s painfully unfunny. Sadly the writers and Director seem to have no idea what works and all the wrong stuff gets the focus. Now surely this is just my taste, but all the funny jokes are pushed to the sidelines allowing the unfunny stuff to take focus.
The cast do a good job with what they have. Hill puts as much enthusiasm into everything he normally does and keeps your attention, even if the material isn’t that good. Julie Walters is the star here though. She gets really into the material making what should be some very unfunny lines actually garner a chuckle. I hope Walters gets a good pay check for this, as she is certainly above this sort of thing. Lucas and Bird do the best with what they have but Vegas is just unfunny as Hamster Abu. His lines are dull and he garners next to no laughs.
Another problem with the movie is the need for the characters to burst into song. Yep, rhat’s right. It’s not just a terrible Harry Hill movie; it’s a terrible musical Harry Hill movie! And the songs aren’t even that good, although a song about how Blackpool is the most magical places on Earth is worth a listen if a soundtrack album is produced. Towards the end, the characters all take part in a huge number that parodies Les Miserables. Oh yeah, and Harry wears a Les Mis style costume to remind us he’s parodying Les Mis. There really isn’t a need for these musical interludes and they don’t really add much to the final film.
In the end, There’s not much more I can really say on The Harry Hill Movie. It seems to strike a chord with younger audiences (my younger Brother loved it). Maybe I’m just too old for this sort of thing. But anyway, The Harry Hill Movie is overlong and drags. There’s no reason why it couldn’t have been trimmed by a good half hour and made into an hour long TV special. There was no real need for it to be a film. You can honestly skip this film and you won’t have missed anything. If you’re looking for something to see over Christmas, try Frozen or The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug instead. The Harry Hill Movie isn’t worth your time or your money, unless it’s in a DVD Bargain bin and you need something to watch on a lazy Sunday Afternoon.