Guy Pringle and his new wife, Harriet, are members of the English community in Bucharest, Rumania on the eve of World War II. The film catalogs and chronicles, after the war begins, the ... See full summary »
I find Emma Thompson extremely sexy, not merely because of her classic English-rose beauty and her physical grace, but also because of her keen intelligence and sense of humour. 'Thompson' was meant to be a showcase for her talents as a comedian, dancer and scriptwriter, in a format permitting her and her friends to put on a wide range of accents and disguises. Unfortunately, an utter lack of discipline queered the project ... and, frankly, it was only Ms Thompson's charisma and physical appeal that kept me watching this dull tosh.
Part of the problem is that Thompson seems to have caught here a dose of Tracey Ullman Disease: she seems to be more interested in impressing us with what a wide range of characters she can portray, with different accents and physical crotchets, rather than developing any of those characters in a funny skit. Also, Thompson seems to be borrowing half a leaf only half of one from the Monty Python lads, by larding these sketches with high-end intellectual references. The Pythons did that too, but they were careful to balance the Proust references with low comedy and cheeky bawdiness. Ms Thompson seems to be pitching her jokes at Mensa.
I did enjoy the musical sequences, in which Thompson dances gracefully to the simple accompaniment of a piano. These sequences are evidently ad-libbed ... or, maybe not. It's clear to me that Thompson and her accompanist have carefully planned and choreographed the beginning of each routine, as well as its ending, leaving the middles to be entirely free-form. Unfortunately, this becomes a bit too obvious when each dance sequence fills its allotted time, and Thompson and her pianist make a lurching transition from total improv to tightly-rehearsed finale.
I watched every episode of 'Thompson', but frankly I did so only because I enjoy listening to Emma Thompson's voice and watching her face and body. The script material on offer here, alas, just isn't interesting. And Imelda Staunton ceased to be funny when she left "Is It Legal?". I'll rate this ill-thought experiment just 3 out of 10. A much earlier British series "What's On Next?" had a similar format, but was much funnier.
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