Dennis Carter (Adrian Edmonson) has recently returned from a seaside holiday in the West Country with his mother, and is keen to impress his girlfriend Andrea (Dawn French) in the hopes that she will go away with him, and maybe even sleep with him. The trouble is, she's not really his girlfriend and is utterly uninterested, despite turning up for a drink with him this evening. He relates a tall tale of a highly lucrative drug smuggling operation that he claims to be involved with, telling her she should come away with him so they can live a life of luxury together, but Andrea is not buying it. The two eavesdropping policemen, however...
Back in the eighties in Britain, the most fashionable thing in comedy was the alternative comedy movement, the joke from humour's old guard at the time being the alternative was that it wasn't funny. But while it was undeniably hit and miss, there was a lot of good that an injection of new blood onto the scene did, not least on television. You see, not everyone could get to London's most happening comedy clubs to hear the latest routines about Margaret Thatcher and right on attitudes, so the best place for most of the country to see this stuff was the T.V.
And Channel Four was the flagship station for it, with its unmissable-for-a-generation Saturday (and Friday) Live, which showcased the newest talents as Ben Elton ranted and raved as your host. But for one group, there was another outlet, and that was The Comic Strip Presents which was a series of original films for the small screen, all on different subjects and largely spoofing genres or recognisable types of people in a straightfaced but arch fashion. The leap to the big screen was inevitable, and so it was that in 1985 they brought out their first feature film: The Supergrass.
This wasn't really a spoof, more a send up of British ineptitude in the form of a crime caper that may or may not be going on in a sleepy coastal village, which in truth gave it more in common with the low budget U.K. comedy movies of yore than anything up to date and modern. And that suited the characters just fine, with Dennis the kind of personality that, with a little tweaking, might have been deftly played by Norman Wisdom in his heyday. When Dennis is taken to the police station, he ends up being forced to admit that he is a drug dealer, which he is not, and that he has information about a big narcotics deal coming up. Which he does not.
So it is that Dennis is despatched to that village by the sea with two undercover cops who have a history with each other: Lesley Reynolds (Jennifer Saunders, incredibly wooden) and Harvey Duncan (Peter Richardson, he'll be your director and co-writer with Pete Richens, then). While the cops try to patch up their differences, Dennis leads them along, drawing out the time spent there because he enjoys the holiday and free money he's getting. But could it be there's a real smuggling operation going on? If the laughs don't exactly come thick and fast, there are bright spots, such as Alexei Sayle's aggravating motorcycle cop, or Robbie Coltrane as a psychotic plainclothesman demolishing a yacht with a chainsaw, but with the humour arising from downbeat situations rather than snappy dialogue it falls a little flat. Music by Keith Tippett.