In the 1980s, "Bros" were one of the biggest bands in the world - for 15 minutes. Having sold out stadiums around the world, they were the youngest to this day to play Wembley and their "... See full summary »
Colin hires a lavish country manor for his extended family to celebrate New Year. Unfortunately for Colin his position of power in the family is under serious threat from the arrival of his estranged brother David.
Vic Reeves (Jim Moir), who plays a cabaret performer in the film, nods to his recording of 'Born Free' in 1991 with 'Vic Reeves and The Roman Numerals' which reached number 6 in the UK singles chart See more »
It's about Comedy, but it's not a Comedy. Doesn't matter, its a good movie that'll make you think.
Many people who have commented on this movie seem to have been somewhat misled by the title. Perhaps they were expecting Monty Python irreverence, a ventriloquist with a bovine puppet, or at the very least a new Wallace & Gromit adventure.
It may not be funny in the realms of a deep belly laugh, but if you like your humour blacker than coal then there are enough things in here to make you chuckle at least. The soundtrack by Richard Hawley is excellent and helps set the dark tone of the whole movie.
The movie has two central themes: the struggle of women in the 70's to be seen more than just a housewife, or an object owned by a man, "woman aren't funny", "where's my dinner" that sort of nonsense; The other theme is where does humour come from? What drives the people who make us laugh?
The theme of being more than a housewife treads familiar territory. Abusive father, abusive husband, sexist attitudes by the men in charge, woman struggles to prove how good she is. Whilst historically accurate, it is the least interesting part of the movie. In 2018 we know the struggle for equality has largely been successful and although there is still a way to go, if you are funny you will get a gig if you are black, white, Chinese, a woman, or indeed a combination of any of those. There is a great scene in a club where Funny Cow is doing her second gig. The crowd, not used to seeing a woman on stage is hostile. A heckler steals a few punchlines, admittedly from tired old gags, and Funny Cow after briefly being taken aback, just dismantles him gag by gag. Within 30 seconds the crowd are eating out of her hand. Funny is truly equal opportunity and has no sex, race or creed.
When the film starts to look at where the humour comes from, it becomes much more interesting and dramatic. This theme is played out by the heroine, Funny Cow and a tired, down trodden old comic that Funny Cow is trying to learn the trade from. Both Alun Armstrong and Maxine Peak are brilliant in these roles, getting inside the dark, tortured place that seems to be inhabited by many stand up comedians and showing what a heavy price is paid for their gift of making people laugh.
Armstrong is just simply superb as he flounders on stage, resorting to racist jokes as he seeks out the laughs he craves like a drug. The sheer desperation in his eyes, in complete contrast to the smile on his lips and the humorous words he is dishing out to the audience. Painful to watch, but somehow compelling drama.
Funny Cow is made of much tougher stuff and wears her humour like kevlar armour to deflect the pain of the beatings, abuse and the sheer bloody boredom of being a housewife. Peake portrays her tough, whip smart persona with just the right amount of vulnerability to show her human side and reveal the damage done to her by her tough upbringing.
No, Funny Cow isn't a comedy, or a stand up show, but nevertheless it is a compelling drama with a few chuckles, a brilliant soundtrack and some first rate acting.
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