This sword and sandals movie is an off-the-wall comedy adventure about three unlikely heroines, who set out to save Celtic Britain, by thwarting the Roman invasion in their own unique and outrageous style.
Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
When a particularly sissy Caesar orders his general Rhinus to proceed with the conquest of Britain, which is just a mosaic of inter-warring Celtic tribes related to the Gauls he already subjugated, those send Marcosivellauniviromandiboule (aka Young Gaul) to the Dubonni, a measly tribe where three sisters play a leading role, and therefore see the messenger foremost as an ideal catch for the unmarried youngest; his bed-test goes great, while a Roman attack on the rivaling neighbor Kent tribe is welcomed without any strategic foresight. Nevertheless the Roman war machine rolls on, so war must be engaged, however again in their, female-shaped way. Written by
The girls of UK comedy TV show "Smack The Pony" take on the "Gladiator" story- like an answer to the lads of "Spaced" doing "Shaun Of The Dead" (except that "Gladiatress" was filmed at the same time, or possibly even first?) It's a real shame that this film got overlooked, and possibly even buried, in the shadow of "Shaun Of The Dead" as it's a funny film in it's own right. There are a lot of parallels in the style between the two films though. For a start, I was falling off my seat with laughter in both films.
Like "Shaun..", a lot of the jokes wouldn't be funny if you had only ever seen them written down- a lot of the real comedy is in the delivery. For example the line "I don't even know where Rome is... s***..."- dull written down but laugh-out-loud when you hear Sally Phillips saying it. Also like "Shaun..", it's really vulgar in parts but never too much, and even though you don't expect to, by the end you're empathising with characters you thought at the beginning of the film you couldn't possibly like.
My only criticisms would be that the first ten minutes are a bit shaky- which might explain why this film has got some poor reviews, as it doesn't leave a good first impression. Also, Doon Mackichan is, surprisingly, a bit weak through some parts of the movie, which is a shame as Fiona Allen and Sally Phillips are on top form. Oh, and the tag-line "does my Gluteus Maximus look big in this?" isn't funny, and it under-sells the film. But these are all minor points, and don't really detract from the entertainment.
The reviewer who commented on the "odd feminism" in the film has, in my opinion, firmly grabbed the wrong end of his stick (or has problems listening to women as equals). If he was expecting a sexy women-in-leather soft porn, this film happily isn't that. It isn't a chick-flick either- you don't have to be one gender or the other to laugh at this film.
In a nutshell, if you liked "Shaun Of The Dead", and/or "Smack The Pony" on TV, this is worth hunting down a copy of. I eventually had to get a legitimate DVD copy from the Netherlands in order to see it- this film is too good to go unnoticed!
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