Comedy, Reviews

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Love, Rosie

20 Oct 20142 stars

Manic, barrel-scraping rom-com from Christian Ditter starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin

Based on the novel Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie pitches, nay flings itself at the less discerning end of the romantic comedy crowd. German director Christian Ditter (French for Beginners) proves an unsteady hand at the helm of a…

Just for Laughs

15 Oct 20144 stars

New collection of standup footage including comedy greats Bill Hicks, Mitch Hedberg and Louis CK

Comedy buffs who heard that Just for Laughs was releasing footage of stand-ups entertaining the people of Montreal down the years might have got excited about the prospect of witnessing an especially notorious moment in the career of Jerry Sadowitz. Of…

Northern Soul

13 Oct 20143 stars

Elaine Constantine's directorial debut takes a look at the titular youth scene

For the uninitiated, northern soul was a youth movement that gripped the North of England during the 60s and 70s, fuelled by high octane funk and soul records from the States. DJs were on a permanent quest for ever more elusive tracks, unearthing gems…

The Rewrite

7 Oct 20143 stars

Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei star in Marc Lawrence's likeable if imperfect comedy

This engaging comedy marks the fourth collaboration between actor Hugh Grant and writer-director Marc Lawrence, following Two Weeks Notice, Did You Hear About The Morgans? and Music and Lyrics. The result is pretty much exactly what you're expecting…

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

6 Oct 20144 stars

Fun family comedy adapted from the kids' book featuring Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell

Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? 11-year-old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) seems to have more than his fair share. And when his latest day from hell is largely ignored by his family, Alexander makes a midnight birthday wish for the…

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Dolphin Tale 2

29 Sep 20142 stars

Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman feature in a bland, aquarium-set sequel

The seam of true-life marine stories mined in 2011's anodyne Dolphin Tale is further depleted by this return visit to the underwater denizens of Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. The bright-looking yet colourless live-action narrative and…

Rachel Maclean – The Weepers

24 Sep 20144 stars

Superb darkly comic retelling of Celtic Bean Nighe myth from Glasgow film-maker

The Scotch mist that wafts around Duart Castle at the opening of Rachel Maclean's new film speaks volumes about where she's coming from; this major commission for the Mull-based Comar organisation looks like a big leap towards something even more…

Julian McCullough: Dream Girls

23 Sep 20142 stars

Meek comedy from American comedian at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The mini-flood of American comics to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe didn’t really set much heather alight and the relatively low standard was encompassed perfectly in Julian McCullough’s Dream Girls. He may have a mischievous glint in his eye and Jim…

What We Did on Our Holiday

22 Sep 20144 stars

David Tennant, Billy Connolly and Rosamund Pike head up a charming comedy

From the creators of TV's Outnumbered comes this enjoyable British comedy that takes the show's winning formula (talented and adorable children, a script that allows those children to improvise much of their dialogue) and successfully translates it to…

Crackanory

19 Sep 20144 stars

Iconic TV show returns for new series featuring Vic Reeves and the late Rik Mayall at his best

When Rik Mayall appeared in a 1986 episode of Jackanory reading George’s Marvellous Medicine, his idiosyncratic take on Roald Dahl’s tale was, inevitably, loved by the kids, and pooh-poohed by a small number of parents. ‘Dangerous and offensive’ they…

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Think Like a Man Too

15 Sep 20142 stars

Comedy sequel starring Kevin Hart is watchable but lacking in big laughs

As its awkward-looking title suggests, ensemble rom-com Think Like a Man Too is a sequel to director Tim Story's 2012 hit. Based on a self-help book by Steve Harvey, the original film featured a group of women (Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P Henson…

Wish I Was Here

15 Sep 20142 stars

Zach Braff's disappointing, Kickstarter-funded second film features Kate Hudson

Like the struggling protagonist of Wish I Was Here, unemployed actor and father Aidan Bloom, writer-director Zach Braff’s follow-up to Garden State has considerable baggage. The easy charm and comedic melancholy of Braff’s 2004 debut created a cult…

TIFF 2014: Men, Women & Children

12 Sep 20143 stars

Jason Reitman's conservative comedy drama features a nicely understated Adam Sandler

Jason Reitman's cautionary, state-of-the-nation mosaic starts off with the promise of something Altman-esque like Nashville or Short Cuts, but winds up closer in tone to something written by Richard Curtis. Perhaps it is the fault of the extensive…

Fall Girl

11 Sep 20143 stars

Pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering musical theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How would you feel if you were being conned at every turn? It’s a question some Fringe audiences must ask themselves constantly. And it certainly seems to be the inexorable fate of Hayley in this spot of pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering…

Joz Norris: Awkward Prophet

11 Sep 20142 stars

Claustrophobic comedy hour lacking everyman appeal at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

When it comes to Joz Norris’ material, it’s unapologetically bright, colourful and not a little garish. Sadly, this particular material is related more to the Hawaiian-style garb on his back than the stuff that comes out of his mouth during the…

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Eleanor Morton: Lollipop

11 Sep 20142 stars

Comedian at the early learning stage of her comedy development at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Making your audience uncertain as to whether they are in fact witnessing a well-defined comic persona in action is a real trick to pull off. The tension between what’s real and what’s not has stood many a fine comic creation in good stead, and Eleanor…

Scott Capurro - Islamohomophobia: Reloaded

10 Sep 20143 stars

A comedy mish-mash of new bits with tried and tested material at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Entertainingly catty as ever, the San Francisco comic is proud to boast a new husband, but you wouldn’t know it given the amount of undermining of his betrothed that is uttered here. Scott Capurro’s chap is Brazilian and therefore an inspiration to…

Pride

8 Sep 20143 stars

Bill Nighy and Dominic West star in a fizzy, feel-good take on an inspiring 80s campaign

Imelda Staunton rolling around a bed with a red dildo laughing is one of the gleeful high points of Matthew Warchus’ unashamedly fizzy, cheering take on the 'Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners' campaign which involved a unique coming together of two…

Sex Tape

1 Sep 20142 stars

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel head up a slapstick heavy sex comedy that's light on laughs

Few sub-genres are as moribund as the sex comedy; since the 70s, audiences rarely seek laughs and voyeurism at the same time, and certainly not at the cinema, with dedicated internet sites allowing them to indulge both humour and libido in…

They Came Together

1 Sep 20142 stars

Gifted comics Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler are poorly served by a so-so rom-com parody

If ever there was a genre that was ripe for parody, that genre is the Nora Ephron-style romantic comedy. That's the conclusion drawn by writer-director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) and co-writer Michael Showalter, whose new comedy sets about…

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Life of Crime

1 Sep 20143 stars

Jennifer Aniston impresses against type in this crime comedy based on Elmore Leonard's The Switch

A prequel of sorts to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, in that it features three of the same characters (albeit played by different actors), Life of Crime is writer-director Daniel Schechter's low-key adaptation of Elmore Leonard's The Switch. Set…

Dan Clark: Me, My Selfie and I

1 Sep 20143 stars

Enjoyably bitter observations about love and shame at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Richard Herring once did a show about how anxious he was feeling at having just entered his fifth decade. You can really sense that something similar is on the horizon from Dan Clark who can’t quite believe how he has managed to get this elderly (he’s…

Al Donegan: The Five Worst Things I Ever Did

1 Sep 20143 stars

Technical comedic skills and stories to burn at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

You have to admire the brave act who makes that their show title. It’s practically an open-goal invite to any cynical hack looking for an easy ‘in’ to give that show a kicking. Thankfully (or annoyingly), Al Donegan has technical skills (he’s a…

Hayley Ellis: We Need to Talk About Kevin

1 Sep 20142 stars

Amiable hour too timid for impact at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As amiable as they come, Hayley Ellis has a show which occasionally bears some rather sharp claws, but is ultimately a little too timid to hit home fully. Initially stunted early on in the run by not being in possession of a licence to have a dog on…

Charlie O'Connor: Dandyisms

1 Sep 20141 star

Limp musical comedy and flat jokes at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Charlie O’Connor is a guy who looks like a girl and is often mistaken as such. This leads to awkward moments with bigoted cabbies and confused women in supermarkets, and we seem to be off to a decent start. Even if he hadn’t told us, it becomes patently…