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9 reviews in total 
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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
One strange week in our lives, 26 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We are the family whose kitchen was "turned into a burger bar". Our episode was - we were told many months later - shown at the Cannes TV festival. No, the kitchen didn't stay as a burger bar for more than a few days: the simple reason being not that we didn't like burgers, but that it wasn't really a kitchen but a stage set tacked over our kitchen units, sink, cooker, fridge, dishwasher...sorry to burst the bubble on this but we really couldn't even boil an egg in it. Other things the team did were brilliant and delightful and we still have beautiful murals in two of the bedrooms even though the owners are now away at university. We will always remember the kindness and friendliness of the whole team especially the amazing Jem, the guy with the gadgets, some of which eventually found their way to the local secondary school DT department. Having said all that, I am not really sure we were right to do the programme. One thing that left a sour taste in my mouth was that after having specifically promised NOT to show any film of our kids quarreling or in distress the company sold the whole thing to another company making a "worst makeover disasters" show and that company DID use shots of my daughter in tears. This was sneaky. Now the children are older they look back with some cynicism about how cleverly they were manipulated into playing parts the producers had planned for them. Oh and my children hated the nannies who were looking after them while we were away. After having been charming and fun in interviews with me, they turned out to be bossy and mean. The other thing that made me feel uncomfortable followed after we had to pretend to have a "posh dinner party" in the "burger bar". We were asked to invite friends round. As it happened, the friends we invited were all Afro-Caribbean and Afro-American. Not one shot from the "dinner party" was used, though they spent hours filming us. I don't want to suggest that it didn't fit with the "posh middle class" image the producers had devised for us that we had black friends...but I've often wondered. I would say to anyone thinking of putting their kids into a reality show: yes, your children will at least learn the vital lesson that all TV is fake - but on the whole, DON'T.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not really Homer, 6 July 2004

The Homeric parallels are very thin, very over-hyped, and don't go much further than calling the main guy Ulysses and his wife Penny. The real Penelope didn't get engaged to anyone else while Odysseus was away. She knew he would come back, and wanted him to come back. The film is more a picaresque tale in the didactic style of Voltaire.

Look, say the Coen brothers, here is this aspect of the Depression, here is another; here are Baptists, here is a rough gubernatorial campaign, here an early radio station, here a bent Bible salesman, here the KKK; see how wittily we touch on each and make it quaint by stringing them along our loose little tale of convicts looking for treasure, using very old and rather wonderful songs that we didn't write, but which are well out of copyright, so we didn't have to pay for them.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A good idea that needed a better script, 23 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Taking into consideration how much of this film consists of the view from the main character's "self-cam", mounted on a harness round his chest, Lee Evans was surely entitled to a joint credit as cameraman! It's really not a bad film, the basic idea is brilliant, but a better script would have led us further into Sean Veil's mind. (If Evans had written the script himself - now that could have been interesting) Veil's obsessive behaviour LOOKS like a symptom of guilt rather than of innocence: that's an idea that Simpson could have run with - he could have tempted us a little more with the possibility that Veil was in fact a murderer after all. Of course the plot has millions of holes but it's the overall look that stays in your mind, and Lee Evans' sad, lonely face as he endures surely the most joyless f*** in history. And how much fatter is Ian McNeice going to get? Is he competing with Richard Griffiths?

7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
What a waste of Lee Evans!, 5 May 2004

What a dreadful movie. Even my children were bored. I thought the point of Jackie Chan was that he did his own stunts? Isn't that his main claim to fame? So what is the point of having half the film devoted to boring CGI stuff with people flying around and disappearing in puffs of smoke and so on? And if you are going to hire a REAL genius like Lee Evans for your comic relief, why not use him properly, let him do his own thing, instead of making him adopt a silly I-say-old-boy accent and utter lamentable lines? It's a shame as Jackie Chan comes over very appealingly on screen, he has a genuinely warm and affable screen presence. The romantic element is especially embarrassing. The film looks as though it's been chopped about like chicken livers to end up with an incomprehensible plot of no interest whatsoever.

11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Race in Britain is not often dealt with so well, 5 May 2004

A sensitive and well-made study of the impact of two waves of immigrants on London communities: the first in the form of a young family of German-born Jews driven out by Hitler, the second in the form of their new neighbours from Jamaica. Cricket is the medium which draws together young cricket-mad David and his new neighbours - especially the cricket-made father and daughter of the family. But the friendship also leads David's young mother, neglected by her workaholic, decent and God-fearing husband, to develop a crush on her more warm-hearted, more vibrant but also decent and God-fearing West Indian neighbour whose habit of spending all day in a string vest and more free-and-easy manner is something of a contrast with her husband's straightlaced attitude and permanent uniform of woolly cardigan. Both David and Ruth fall to the temptation to exploit their new friends: David uses Judy to help him improve his cricket, Ruth attempts to use Dennis for the sexual satisfaction she is missing out on as her husband works all hours to improve the family's fortunes (and send his children to expensive schools). But when Judy turns up at David's birthday party he turns her away; and when Ruth makes a pass at Dennis, she is politely but firmly repulsed. This is a lovely film that deserves to be remembered; it is very accurate of the period full of good little touches but also has a strong, positive ending in which both couples, and both families, become stronger and closer despite their diverging paths, as the enmity of the local racists draws them together in near-tragedy.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Touching and under-rated, 22 April 2004

This portrait of a deadbeat family is much more touching than I expected. Complaints that it crosses "genres" seem to me to be pointless. Its weakness is the plot...its strength is the pairing of Lee Evans and Kathy Burke; I have always that one of the strengths of Evans' loveable-nitwit stand-up routine is the charge of anger which runs through it. In The Martins he gives the anger free rein with scary effect. On the other hand, are we to believe in a man who can tie up two old people and leave them, for all he knows, to die of thirst and hunger in a cellar, yet will not raise a hand to defend himself against his righteously angry wife? It doesn't quite add up. But it's a really enjoyable and moving film with a life-affirming message, brought home most strongly in the wonderful childbirth scene. At least this movie challenges us to think about how little value we attach to people whom we perceive as too poor, stupid or ugly to be noticed.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Not a single believable element in the plot, 17 April 2004

Amazing! A film without a SINGLE credible element in the plot! Compared with Don't Say A Word, Star Wars comes in as gritty kitchen-sink drama! A few of the more preposterous ideas: Mortuary staff who allow an unaccompanied ten year old to tag along on a corpse-laden ferry A psychiatrist who is supposed to be so good he can do in 15 minutes what no one else has achieved with a patient in years A baddy who sets up a complex surveillance system overlooking his victim's flat instead of just kidnapping her like any proper criminal would A heavily-used cemetery where the main building is a ruin The ghastly prospect of being given a sponge bath by Michael Douglas...presented as a big treat

I'd rather have a sponge bath from Sean Bean, any day, thanks!

Mousehunt (1997)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
How could anyone not love Mouse Hunt?, 15 April 2004

How could anyone NOT love Mouse Hunt? I think some of the negative comments on this page must have been sent in as spoofs, especially the one from the people with all the gerbils. It is visually amazingly inventive. The interiors of the "La Rue house" and the string factory alone are a joy. It is hilarious. It has a perfect plot with a gentle, happy ending. It has two comedians perfectly matched (Lane and Evans) - the one is the bully who thinks himself so smart but has no morals, the other is the gentle one possessed of moral sense but not so smart. It has a GREAT mouse. It even has, albeit very briefly, a naked Lee Evans...oh, he's one of the greatest British stand-up comedians ever, something which American viewers would not be aware of.

What more could one ask ? We have had the video of this for years and it's still a riot. Some of the humour is a bit squishy...we all have to hide our eyes before the cockroach scene... Even so I am thinking of getting the DVD before the video wears out and wrecks the machine.

23 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
A seaside postcard from the depths of the human heart, 30 March 2004

Not really a comedy - more a surreal, sometimes weirdly comic piece about comedians, about families, about the awfulness of having a famous father, about genius, about the problem of what makes a comic funny, about the sublime sadness of failure. Lee Evans is absolutely haunting as the tortured comic genius, the natural comic who is so purely a comedian that he can barely communicate except in gags, yet who will never be allowed to perform in public because of his dark past. Leslie Caron is heart-rending as his mother, a brave, faded French beauty stranded for ever singing mildly risque songs in Blackpool pubs, and their tender scenes together are for me the best thing in the whole film.

The whole cast is incredible...right down to Oliver Reed camping it up gloriously in a bizarre sub-plot which at first I thought might be part of the Evans' character's fevered imagination. It is a movie absolutely crammed with magic but in one of my favourite scenes, Oliver Platt arrives in Blackpool and instantly sees it peopled with characters from Donald McGill postcards - fat ladies, saucy girls with flouncy skirts, burly men. The ending is a bit wonky and looks to my eye to have been changed from a tragic one to a "happy" one to please audiences. In the two opening sequences, both Evans and Platt utter the words "I'm going to die" in very different circumstances, and mean very different things, and other variations on the theme of death and laughter follow - all this seemed to be pointing down a much darker alleyway than the one we got. Doesn't matter, though. Still a great movie.