Award-winning actor/comedian Ricky Gervais' first-ever HBO stand-up special features his unique takes on such disparate issues as fund-raising, autism, fame, nursery rhymes, Nazis, moronic friends, obesity and more.
It's 1973 in Cemetery Junction, a Reading suburb. Three working class lads, best friends, are coming of age. Freddie wants to rise above his station, taking a job selling life insurance, wearing a suit and tie. Snork works at the railway station and wants a girlfriend some day. Bruce talks of leaving but seems on track to work at a factory, drink and fight, and become like his dad, in front of the telly with beer on hand; and he's trying the patience of the police officer who gets him out of jams. Freddie's job leads the lads toward a few small changes. He runs across a childhood friend, Julie, his boss's daughter who's engaged to the firm's top seller. Can the lads break out? Written by
The original title was "The Men at the Pru", an advertising slogan for the Prudential insurance company. During the writing of the film, the Prudential allowed Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant to use their archives for research. However, after reading the finished script, the company decided it didn't like how it was being portrayed and refused to allow the usage of their name. The new title comes from an actual area in the town of Reading, where the film takes place. See more »
The film is set in 1973, yet all of the trains seem are in liveries from the 1960's. (While it is true that the last of the crimson coaches weren't repainted until 1974, by 1973 almost all locomotives were blue and coaches blue or blue and grey.) See more »
Frederick Taylor. Freddie Taylor. Welcome to Vigilant Life Assurance. I see you grew up in Cemetery Junction. Went to Stone Meade, the worst school in the south of England.
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Since the creation of The Office and Extras Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have been recognised as two of Britain's most well known comedic talents. Gervais particularly is known as the front man and has expanded from British television, having done stand-up tours, starred in films, directed a film and was even a guess star in Alias. The two men have reunited to write and direct their first film together, which is something very different for both of them.
Christian Cooke plays Freddie Taylor, an man in his early 20s living in the early 70s suburbs of Reading, England. Freddie wants to avoid the same life path his parents and contemporaries of leaving school at 14 and work in the local factory for the rest of their lives. He goes to work at a life insurance company run by Mr. Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes) and taught by Mike Ramsay (Matthew Goode) to be a salesman. Freddie spends his time with his close friends Bruce (Tom Hughes) and Snork (Jack Doolan) and do all the jolly things of life, drinking, fighting and trying to score with girls. But Freddie is slowly growing distance from them as they refuse to shade their childish ways. Freddie remakes a friendship with Julie (Felicity Jones), a friend of his when he was 12. She tells Freddie her passion to travel the world and he too has those thoughts embedded in his head. He becomes disillurated with everything in the suburb of Cemetery Junction.
Gervais and Merchant are both known for their comedic talents and shown that they have a range of styles; with The Office's mockumentary style and Extras use of non-PC humour and personal humiliation. Gervais' own stand-up acts also relied on non-PC humour. But with Cemetery Junction the comedy is much more natural humour, relying on realistic, witty lines. It's a low key comedy but it is still very funny with laugh out loud moments. Gervais and Merchant do show their range as writers and not having to use post-modern comedy. The only moments when people speak about non-PC issues, e.g. race and mix-race, it was done more as a commentary and criticism of an older generation who are not as educated as their children. Gervais and Merchant also have a brilliant eye as directors. The early 70s was brought to live with amazing detail. The tone and music was perfectly fitting. This is a well-lit film, bright, happy and energetic. They showed that 70s Britain was not all doom and gloom and wanted to avoid kitchen-sink realism which is popular in British cinema.
The two directors do not just tell a comedy story but also a effective drama, a coming-of-age story that even has some relevance today: young people deciding whether to leave their home and travel the world. Freddie and Julie symbolies these ideas and avoid being like their parents. Julie's mother (Emily Watson) offers a touching performance as a woman who has been broken down by husband, acting as an important symbol. Watson's role is small but very powerful. There are scenes which are very serious and shows that in this type of comedy that real drama is needed to give the film more heart and keep the audience hooked. Gervais and Merchant can handle dramatic material as well as comedy.
The young cast show their talent, particularly Cooke and Hughes. They were convicting looking almost like twins showing two very different characters, with Cooke really wants to change and do something positive in his life, whilst Hughes was a man saying he wants to leave but does nothing about it and filled with anger. There are more experience actors to offer balance: as mention Watson was excellent. Fiennes and Goode both offer slimy performance as the closest thing to villains in the film. Gervais has a small role in the film and offers a good amount of non-PC humour with Anne Reid playing Freddie's Gran. Jones offered a decent performance, attempting to give Julie some heart and emotion. But her role was a little clichéd. However Doolan's character was not as believable as the dimwitted and slightly weird friend. He was not realistic in a film which is pretty down to Earth.
The story too a little cliché, but Gervais and Merchant were able to give the film enough of an twist to keep Cemetery Junction fresh and make it a funny comedy drama.
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