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  Eat the Rich Feeling Peckish?
Year: 1987
Director: Peter Richardson
Stars: Ronald Allen, Sandra Dorne, Jimmy Fagg, Lemmy, Alan Pellay, Nosher Powell, Fiona Richmond, Ron Tarr, Rik Mayall, Kevin Allen, Jools Holland, Sean Chapman, Adrian Edmonson, Robbie Coltrane, Jennifer Saunders, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Planer, Dawn French
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Alex (Lanah Pellay) is a waiter at an exclusive London restaurant for the very richest members of society, and while the customers are being fed, he is fed up. One of the other waiters (Kevin Allen) is far more successful with the tipping than he is, so Alex ends up scrabbling for change on the floor, and eventually kicked into the ornamental fountain for his trouble. This is the last straw, and he starts insulting the customers and overturns a table, losing his job in the process. Now he is homeless, jobless and penniless, but a chance meeting with some terrorists on the way to lay siege to an embassy means he gets his hands on a gun, which gives him big ideas...

The Comic Strip Presents... had been a pioneering example of British television humour, offering its regular cast of comedians the chance to bring "alternative" comedy to the small screen and wider exposure. Naturally, the next step was the big screen, and The Supergrass was the result, but for this supposedly outrageous second film you might have expected the likes of Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmonson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and so on to take the starring roles in a film directed by one of the team's central figures, Peter Richardson (who also co-wrote the script with Pete Richens).

Oh, but you'd be wrong, as Eat the Rich stars nobody particularly famous and the most recognisable faces are only present in what amount to glorified cameos. So Robbie Coltrane is one of the diners, along with the likes of Sandie Shaw, Paul McCartney, Koo Stark and Bill Wyman (who gets killed!) presumably showing up as a favour to Richardson. The plot, meanwhile, takes potshots at every aspect of nineteen-eighties Britain it can lay its hands on, and every side of the political divides are lampooned. Mainly it's a tale of how the dispossessed stage a failed attempt to make an impact on society, this time through a novel terrorist act.

We never see the Prime Minister, but we do see his Home Secretary (Nosher Powell as Nosher Powell), described as a "Cockney fascist" for his somewhat unsubtle methods. He is determined to attain higher office, and is egged on by his wife (Sandra Dorne), with his exploits being championed by the tabloid press, even when they set him up for scandal with a call girl called Fiona (Fiona Richmond) - which doesn't amuse his wife one bit. As all this is going on, a high up official in the British government, Commander Fortune (Ronald Allen), is a spy for the Soviets, and keen to start a revolution, but apparently not a very big one as he is secretly backing Alex.

And Alex, meanwhile, gathers his own band of unlikely revolutionaries, a down and out (Ron Tarr), a man they both meet while roaming the countryside (Jimmy Fagg) and Fiona, who has been left pregnant and abandoned by Powell. And the title? This foursome attack the restaurant and kill everyone in it with bows and arrows, then serve up their bodies as mince to the other wealthy patrons who are desperate to get in. It has to be said, laughs are thin on the ground here, and the impression is that Richardson admires the obnoxiousness of his characters which gives them their ability to say and do what they feel like. It's one of those comedies that sums up the poorest comedy of its era, the self-impressed, anything goes except a discernable joke affair. Music by Motorhead, and Lemmy also appears as an arms dealer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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