James owes his life to his older brother, Frankie after taking the rap for a crime they committed together. While Frankie served time, James worked to turn his life around, got a steady job and began courting his former girlfriend Emily. Now, Frankie is released and back on the streets with no money and no place to go.
I found this film on the shelves of a French hypermarket on a day trip to Calais. Presented in the same font and style as the 'American Pie' films, I have to say that the local French title "Medieval pie - Territoires vierges" did stand out, which was possibly the intention of the DVD marketing company, trying to trade on the success of a similar and more successful series of teen comedy films. Even now, after the event, I'm still not sure whether any of the cast or crew of 'Medieval Pie' have any involvement with the 'American Pie' franchise at all. I'm doubtful. I get the feeling that this movie will be known under a variety of titles in a variety of markets, and that alone should set the alarm bells ringing in the heads of most sane movie reviewers.
There are a few familiar faces on display. Hayden Christensen, Mischa Barton and Tim Roth are the three most obvious 'names', with 'Little Britain's' David Walliams appearing in a blink-and-you'll-almost-miss-him cameo. The main problem is that all these actors are playing characters with hard-to-remember names. Barton is Pampinea, Christensen is Lorenzo (who for some reason masquerades as a deaf-and-dumb gardener in a convent where for some reason all the nuns have sex with him, a central joke that gets tired very quickly, even with all the nudity) while Roth is the main villain, Gerbino de la Ratto. I was rather more impressed with Matthew Rhys' Russian Count Dzerzhinsky, who rattled off his name and lineage on several occasions without missing a beat - I could have done with a memory like that to remember exactly who was who. It was a struggle at times.
My favourite scene was probably when the two women who get captured (Rosalind Halstead & Kate Groombridge I believe) try and escape by tricking their guards into dropping their trousers and lining up in order of size and then creating an argument about whether you start small and work up, or start large and work down (or even start in the middle!). That was fun. The main love story involving Barton and her three suitors (Christensen, Roth and Rhys) is perhaps not so successful, and the less said about the sex-obsessed nuns the better. It's an old fantasy for sure, imagining what nuns get up to behind closed convent doors, but not especially original.
I've seen worse comedies for sure - anything involving Aaron Seltzer & Jason Friedberg for one thing, but I have seen better too. I suppose for the genre it represents, this sits somewhere in the middle of the pack, so even though it did bypass the cinemas and go straight-to-DVD, it's not really that bad. It deserves one viewing at least, but whether it will hold up to multiple screenings is much less certain. I'm not sure it will. I guess what I'm really saying, is wait until the sales - don't pay full price for it - unless you have a thing about nuns getting naked, in which case this is a 10/10 movie for sure. For me though, it's just a five.
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