The Revengers' Comedies (1998) Poster

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Thoroughly enjoyable...
La_Esmeralda20 May 2005
A little-known gem I picked up on the other night, this film really is so very, very amusing. Helena Bonham Carter steals the show as a completely insane upper class psychopath, and is supported with stellar performances from Sam Neill as her awkward accomplice, Rupert Graves as her odd brother, and Kristin Scott Thomas being the target of her vendetta. Special mentions go to the hilarious Steve Coogan and to Martin Clunes as the obnoxious husband. The storyline is old as day (based on Hitchcock's 'Strangers on a Train'), and yet with its quintessentially British humour, manages to be highly entertaining. I would certainly recommend it; it has the viewer chortling the entire way through, and is short, snappy, and a good laugh on a Sunday afternoon.
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A smart British comedy. Helena Bonham Carter steals the show.
FlickJunkie-27 March 2001
British humor is distinctly different from American humor and this film illustrates that point nicely. American humor hits you with a sledgehammer, with outrageous gags and extremely explicit content. British humor is full of innuendo, irony and subtlety. It is thoughtful wit, full of `aha!' moments. This is why Americans often refer to British humor as being dry, mostly because we don't like pondering over our comedy. We prefer a guffaw to a good snicker.

In this film, Karen (Helena Bonham Carter) and Henry (Sam Neill) meet one night on a bridge where they both went to commit suicide. Henry is interrupted from jumping by the cries of Karen who has botched her attempt. After he saves her, they commiserate and decide that getting revenge would be better than committing suicide. They make a pact where each of them agrees to even the score for the other with their respective objects of contempt.

Karen becomes a secretary to Henry's old boss (Steve Coogan) and proceeds to make his life a living hell, convincing his wife he is having an affair. Henry's target is Imogen (Kristen Scott Thomas), whom Karen hates because she stole her husband back from Karen, with whom he was having an affair. The film is replete with highbrow humor that you would only see in an English film. There is plenty of class-warfare comedy poking fun at the aristocracy.

Helena Bonham Cater is brilliantly droll as the diabolical Karen. She is deliciously evil as she cunningly plots Bruce's demise. Long known as a terrific dramatic actor, Bonham Carter shows here that she can convert that energy into an intensely offbeat and funny character with equal impact. Sam Neill is also entertaining as Henry, a bumbling victim of fate who allows himself to be swept along by circumstances. Kristin Scott Thomas does a superb job of portraying Imogen, a woman steeped in affectation and arrogance, who ultimately becomes a casualty of love.

This highly entertaining film requires a certain refined sense of humor to enjoy. I rated it an 8/10. It will lack punch for the average viewer, but for the viewer who enjoys subtlety and irony it will be amusing and enjoyable.
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This defines droll.
ktmphd25 September 2000
If you want to know what people mean when they say the British are superb in creating droll comedies and you do not know what they are talking about, watch this movie! You also get the benefit of seeing a movie that gives new meanings to words like ironic, satiric, quaint, bucolic, whimsical and hilarious.

The three leads are superb, but watch for the secondary leads, such as the boss who gets the axe by his wife due to his being set up, or the husband who gets shot by accident and everyone is ecstatic or, best of all, the head housekeeper who is taking two or three years to break in her replacement.

Get it, rent it, do whatever you need to do to see it and laugh. Then sit around as I am with impatience waiting for the sequel.
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Mish-mash misfire......
merklekranz23 June 2008
If you view a great British comedy in the right mood, it can be a splendid evenings entertainment. First you have to get past the dialect, and the faster the lines are delivered, the more challenging this becomes. However, if the laughs are there they will come through loud and clear. Unfortunately this is not the case with "Sweet Revenge". This totally predictable and uninspired effort, fails on several levels. The punchlines are telegraphed well in advance. The script is in many places more mean spirited than funny. Do yourself a favor. If you want to see a wonderful, dark, British comedy, seek out "Car Trouble" and skip this one. - MERK
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Enjoyable, but miscast
robin-4141 December 2005
I like this movie, and when I was in the habit of watching films, or sections of them, over and again, this was a favourite of mine to dip into. It has some very good moments, for the reason of being both funny and very well acted. I'd heard the play in a lengthier form on the radio some years before, so I was familiar with the story, and I was pleased to see Steve Coogan in an early film role (he is horribly wonderful as Bruce Tick). However, something about the film has always bothered me, and it actually only occurred to me very recently just what it is. It is that all of the young male leads are in the wrong roles. I just can't believe that Sam Neil would even consider the option of suicide (not a giveaway - this is the beginning of the film). Martin Clunes would have been better as Henry Bell - but it was the central role, and Sam Neil was the bigger name. Helena Bonham-Carter has lots of fun playing the psychotic woman. Utterly convincing, and it's easy to see why poor old Henry gets mixed up with her. The Revengers Comedies (Sweet Revenge is a better title for this movie)is not a classic, but it's better than a lot of recent British comedy films, and is a faint echo of a craft in which we once excelled, a long time ago.
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Bitter Sweet
NJMoon21 August 2003
Like Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG TRILOGY, this two-part play almost demanded a name change before lensing, but all except the US market chose to do so (SWEET REVENGE, to us Yanks). Alan Ayckbourn's cutting comic caper concerns two desperate losers who opt for revenge instead of a midnight dive into the Thames. Fine Britress Helena Bonham Carter is the controlling "she" while sedate Ozian Sam Neil is the duller "he". Stick insect Kristin Scott Thomas replaces the much-missed Joanna Lumley from the stage version while a mopey Rupert Graves is serviceable as the wayward brother. This is only one of three Ayckbourn plays (out of 69) to make it to the big screen (A CHORUS OF DISAPPROVAL and SMOKING/NO SMOKING, the other two) and it's compression proves it's failing. The quaint Liz Smith is antic as the doddering maid. In the end, though, the fabric has been sliced and mended till the narrative is less than satisfying.
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For lovers of the British wit.
George Parker25 November 2001
"Sweet Revenge" tells of a suicidal man (Neill) and woman (Carter) who meet on a London bridge and hatch a plot to dispose of the trouble-maker in each other's life. The film is a delightful British romp full of stodginess, stuffiness, silliness, and very dry British humor. Those with a taste for British wit will likely find this a fun comedy while those with no such taste will find it dull.
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Definitely one of the greats!
messed_up26 March 2002
Since I saw this film when it was first aired in 1999 I was desperate to own it. I enjoyed it so much. Having also read the play I thought it was one of the best films I had ever seen. I finally managed to buy it after two years of searching, but it really is worth waiting two years for. The cast are amazing, especially Steve Coogan, who does an amazing job of playing the oily Bruce Tick. His acting is excellent, as is the rest of the celebrity cast. This is definitely one of the best British films I have ever seen, and is definitely worth watching, especially if you're a fan of British movies!
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Not long enough!
Jelly-428 October 2002
What a refreshing change to see such a witty comedy. The cast was excellent, especially Helena Bonham Carter who was outrageously wicked. But my only complaint is that it was too short. I wanted to see Helena's character work out the rest of her revenge plot.
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did I miss something?
DaveZ17 September 2001
This is a waste of 90 minutes, starring some excellent actors. What happened?

I think this was intended to be another quirky English comedy. Unfortunately, the supposed humor generally feels mean-spirited. I kept expecting the plot was all about a scam or practical joke, and that the dead folks would pop up and start laughing. No such luck. The ending seems arbitrary and abrupt. The narration is pointless (was it intended to "fix" a major re-editing?).

The other comments talk about this being a wonderful example of droll English humor. Yes, I realize the English tend to have a different sense of humor, but I wouldn't have considered this an example.
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