6.8/10
11,187
123 user 122 critic

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005)

A Cock and Bull Story (original title)
Trailer
2:02 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

Director Michael Winterbottom (Northam) attempts to shoot the adaptation of Laurence Sterne's essentially unfilmable novel, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman."

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) (as Martin Hardy)
2 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Trip I (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Paul Popplewell
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two men, six meals in six different places on a road trip around Italy. Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and ending in Capri.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Rosie Fellner
The Trip (TV Series 2010)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Steve is asked to review restaurants for the UK's Observer who is joined on a working road trip by his friend Rob who fills in at the last minute when Coogan's romantic relationship falls apart.

Stars: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Rebecca Johnson
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Steve Coogan, Lennie James, John Thomson
Wonderland (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

There's little wonder in the working-class lives of Bill, Eileen, and their three grown daughters. They're lonely Londoners. Nadia, a cafe waitress, places personal ads, looking for love; ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Shirley Henderson, Gina McKee, Molly Parker
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When famous DJ Alan Partridge's radio station is taken over by a new media conglomerate, it sets in motion a chain of events which see Alan having to work with the police to defuse a potentially violent siege.

Director: Declan Lowney
Stars: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Tim Key
Everyday I (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

This film charts the relationship between a man imprisoned for drug smuggling and his wife and is being shot over the course of five years, a few weeks at a time.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Shirley Henderson, John Simm, Shaun Kirk
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Eunice is walking along the highways of northern England from one filling station to another. She is searching for Judith, the woman, she says to be in love with. It's bad luck for the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Amanda Plummer, Kathy Jamieson, Saskia Reeves
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The life of Paul Raymond, the controversial entrepreneur who became Britain's richest man.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Steve Coogan, Matt Lucas, Anna Friel
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Alan Partridge appears on Open Books with Martin Bryce to promote his new autobiography.

Director: Declan Lowney
Stars: Steve Coogan, Tom Davis, Jessie Morell
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A broke, jobless actor and a broke, jobless screenwriter set out to make a movie and then find that life starts imitating art.

Director: Ian Fitzgibbon
Stars: Dylan Moran, Mark Doherty, Keith Allen
Comedy | Talk-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A mock of a TV show where the host is rude to many of his guests.

Stars: Steve Coogan, Rebecca Front, Patrick Marber
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Elizabeth / Keeley Hawes
...
Susannah
Raymond Waring ...
Trim
Conal Murphy ...
Joe Williams ...
...
Obadiah
...
London Doctor
...
Midwife
...
Dr. Slop
...
Surgeon
...
Parson
...
Mark
...
Ed
Edit

Storyline

Two actors, as their make up is applied, talk about the size of their parts. Then into the film: Laurence Sterne's unfilmable novel, Tristram Shandy, a fictive autobiography wherein the narrator, interrupted constantly, takes the entire story to be born. The film tracks between "Shandy" and behind the scenes. Size matters: parts, egos, shoes, noses. The lead's girlfriend, with their infant son, is up from London for the night, wanting sex; interruptions are constant. Scenes are shot, re-shot, and discarded. The purpose of the project is elusive. Fathers and sons; men and women; cocks and bulls. Life is amorphous, too full and too rich to be captured in one narrative. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's About To Play The Role Of His Life. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story  »

Box Office

Budget:

£2,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£332,582 (UK) (20 January 2006)

Gross:

$1,247,453 (USA) (28 April 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the armed soldiers (those with working guns) in the battle scenes, plus some other extras were members of the Sealed Knot Society, which tours the UK, performing historical re-enactments of the English Civil War. See more »

Quotes

Steve Coogan: This is a postmodern novel before there was any modernism to be post about.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Throughout the closing credits, Rob and Steve talk about how they use techniques of various other actors. See more »

Connections

References The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds
from The Draughtman's Contract Music
Composed by Michael Nyman
Published by Chester Music Limited
Performed by the Michael Nyman Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Messy and a bit too post-modern and smart-arsed for some I'm sure but for me it was just a great deal of fun and a lot of laughs
6 February 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Before getting on to what I thought of the film, let's just get some of the big problems out in the open. Firstly those looking for an adaptation of the book will be disappointed to find that very little of the content is on the screen because the script uses it more as a frame and a guide for essentially a behind-the-scenes mockumentary about making the film of the book. It does go someway to backing up the claim that the book is "unfilmable" because this film certainly hasn't managed it. Secondly, by being all post-modern and having actors playing a version of themselves the film will alienate viewers who don't get it and feel that it is all too clever for its own good; likewise it may have people feeling that it has all been done before – indeed by the very same people in fact.

However, that said, it is hard for me to ignore the fact that it was tremendous fun. Taking its lead from the novel's constant digressions, the film cannot stick on anything long and as we open the film jumping around the events around Tristram's birth, we soon find that we have jumped behind the scenes and into the lives of those involved. It is a brave move and one that doesn't totally work but it is surprisingly easy to go along with. In terms of the treatment of the novel I felt it did well because it made me want to read the book. We are told enough about the novel to develop an interest in it and know what it is about and it may be a very wise decision to have avoided tackling something that everyone says couldn't be done. Some parts of the book are told as they would have been in a "proper" filmed version but some are not – one scene is actually Coogan's nightmare and features Brydon playing his big scene with Gillian Anderson with a Roger Moore impression.

In the place of a straight adaptation what we get is a wonderfully funny look at stars, period dramas, British film-making, celebrities and so on. It has very little structure to speak of but what it does have is a natural development, humour and delivery that makes it interesting and constantly fresh. I wasn't laughing every second because it isn't that type of comedy but occasionally it was very funny, producing some great scenes and some great dry wit. The "story" (if there is one) focuses on Coogan – his pedantic fame, his exploits and generally the exaggerated version of himself that he has played before. This keeps the film moving forward by providing one central point of reference for everything else to happen around so, although it does feel very fragmented and distracted, really it is more structured than it appears. The most amusing moments do come from the post-modern looks at Coogan's insecurities, the contrast of his family life with the exploits with the stripper etc and generally it makes the film interesting because it does convince as a "reality" of a sort. Having said that though, the film does have some hysterical bits that just hang there by themselves; for example Brydon's Coogan impressions are hilarious, as is the Al Pacino discussion over the end credits.

The cast list reads like a who's who of British film and television – some in main roles but many in semi-cameos who do the goods and then move on. Coogan is naturally the star (no matter what Brydon thinks!) and, although he has played a version of himself or addressed the camera in a post-modern way before, it still works well here. He is convincing and natural and it helps the film produce this "reality" that it really does heavily rely on. Brydon perhaps relies a bit too heavily on impressions but generally he is just as good and the scenes he shares with Coogan tend to be some of the funniest. Although she has largely been overlooked as the critics name names and hand out praise, I think that Naomi Harris deserves a lot of credit for her performance here. Left with a more serious thread to carry, she turns in a totally convincing performance to the point where I could easily believe this is who she is. She also produces an engaging thread around her desire for Coogan, despite having little to work with. I'll admit that I have liked her in most things I have seen her do, find her very attractive and did slightly fall for her "chilled, cool dressing film buff" character (ok, a bit more than slightly) but I still thought she was easily the best performance in the whole film.

The rest of the cast work well within the "reality" of the film and generally produce laughs. Faces like Moran, Fry and Walliams provide some comedy but are little more than cameos. Northam and Anderson are good and support is generally very good from people like Macdonald, Hart, Henderson and others. Winterbottom pulls off the seemingly impossible of holding it all together as director and moving well within the novel and reality – both in terms of story telling but also visually.

Overall this will please as many people as it p*sses off I think. Taking the manner of telling of the novel (distracted and digressing) the film moves from a straight telling into a spoof of reality. Saying it like this sounds dull and "seen it all before" but it is an impressive piece of film-making that is brave and, even better, works. As brilliant as it is flawed, this is certainly worth a try whether you know the book or not because, simply put, it is tremendous, tumultuous fun.


21 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why Is The Book Unfilmable? alex_mckenzie_2005
'Fill me with your babies' overratedcritic
Rob Brydon vs Steve Coogan flandersnswan
Score Question eddie2004
extras poohandco1
a very clever film echo_park37

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?