One night, one of my last out in York, I ended up waiting at a bus stop for the Clubbers’ Bus, even though I didn’t know what time it’d arrive or if it even went to that stop. I was impatiently bored, and felt I could be doing something better. And that’s my exact experience of Mrs. Brown’s Boys: D’Movie.
This film is bad. It’s not funny. The Telegraph called it “anti-funny”, and they’re spot on. Take it to Monty Python Live and watch it burst into flame. Try quoting the jokes for your friends and obituaries’ll start spilling out of your mouth, followed by cancer diagnoses for beloved pets. Laughter will die in their throats, and become snakes.
I’ll admit I haven’t watched the show before, but I think I was able to follow the plot. Basically, Mrs. Brown is an Irish matriarch with six kids who, importantly, happens to be played by a man in drag. This is a running gag, then a limping gag, then a crawling-on-bloodied-knees-begging-for-death gag. She runs a fruit-and-veg stall on Moor Street Market, though judging by review scores thus far she’s awfully short of fresh tomatoes.
Unfortunately, an evil property developer and his Russian hitmen want to tear the stall down to build a shopping centre! So Mrs. Brown and her colourful cast of supporting characters, like Winnie and Buster and Thingy and What’s-Her-Name, make a stand against the cackling tycoons so they can keep living like common people, so they can do whatever common people do.
Some of the laugh-an-hour sequences after that include a whole bunch of sex jokes, and set-ups so old they were translated from the Rosetta Stone. There’s a sprinkle of racism (Indians and Jamaicans look the same, Chinese people can’t say “r” properly) and a bunch of scenes where blind ninjas accidentally hurt themselves. Incidentally, blind people know when this movie’s playing, even with the sound turned off. They look directly at it and start screaming.
Probably the nicest thing I can say about this movie is it’s not the WORST thing an Irishman’s sent to the Arndale Centre in thirty years. That, and you can double-bill it with The Fault In Our Stars – a heartwarming film about two teenagers who’ll have, once you’ve watched Brown, suffered less than you.
…oh, all right: and it does do a good job of transferring all the elements of the sitcom to the actual movie. You get the rickety sets, jabs at mistakes in the plot (the equivalent of pointing out blackheads on a plague victim) and the odd scene where someone flubs their lines and bursts out giggling. Thus reassuring us that, despite the best efforts of everyone involved here, the concept of laughter still exists. You just sort of huff it out, see? No, that’s sobbing! No, stop clawing at your wrists like that!
And my gran liked it. But even she didn’t laugh that much, and despite the opinion of some Mrs. Brown fans that every critic who panned this movie is a human sneer, tossing Proust at the proles from their ivory tower, nor did anyone else in the cinema.
Still, this film’s made more money this week than its top five competitors combined – it’s probably made more money than Rolf Harris effigies, and I can’t decide which I want to burn more. Brendan O’Carroll wants to make two more. Somewhere, God stands glumly on His heavenly throne, then slips the noose round His neck as He kicks it away.
Basically, I didn’t think it was very good.