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  Harry Hill Movie, The What Are The Chances Of That Happening, Eh?
Year: 2013
Director: Steve Bendelack
Stars: Harry Hill, Julie Walters, Matt Lucas, Johnny Vegas, Simon Bird, Guillaume Delaunay, Sheridan Smith, Marc Wootton, Julian Barratt, Jim Broadbent, Shingai Shoniwa, Christine Ozanne, The Magic Numbers, Camilla Marie Beeput, Paul Burling
Genre: Musical, Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Harry Hill (as himself) lives with his Nan (Julie Walters) in their house in the suburbs, and today have just been indulging in a chariot race of sorts on their mobility scooters, racing at high speeds - or as high as those vehicles will allow - along the pavement, knocking pedestrians out of the way until they reach home. When Harry asks her why she didn't let him overtake, Nan says she didn't recognise him and they go inside for a roast chicken dinner. But oops, wouldn't you know it, Harry forgot to buy the frozen bird so he is ordered outside to fetch one from the coop in the back garden, a tricky proposition considering the chickens are heavily armed, though a well-placed hand grenade might do the trick...

Harry Hill had been plying his trade as a comedian for over twenty years before he finally got to make his own movie, and perhaps thanks to now being identified with the ITV channels the results were not warmly received, with many dismissing it as on a par with the Leigh Francis's disastrous Keith Lemon: The Film, which had recently been playing to tiny audiences and general disdain. This was unfair to a point, for while both men crafted a carefully constructed world to essay their humour, with a love of pop culture references and elaborate makeup (or puppets, in Hill's case), Francis's jokes resided in the airless smut he was so fond of, while Hill was more in the tradition of British nonsense humour.

Therefore this effort may have been lambasted by those for whom relentless foolishness had no appeal, or were determined not to crack a smile thus playing the humourless card, yet for others with an appreciation of Hill's stylings, it may not have been the funniest thing he had ever conjured up, but it was a lot more like his former, hilarious self than the latter series of his television spoof TV Burp had been. Make no mistake, he could be quite brilliant if offered a nurturing environment for his comedy, with his BBC radio show Harry Hill's Fruit Corner one of the funniest ever broadcast, and his Channel 4 programme of the late nineties containing sublime examples of lunacy under his cheery showbiz fa├žade slyly winking at the audience that he was well aware this was really stupid, but just indulge yourself and you'll get the joke.

His movie was much more like the randomly plotted sketches he was best at, TV Burp having somewhat straitjacketed him by the end into churning out variations on the same jokes, and looking more than a little tired. While his X Factor musical flopped at around the same time this production was gathering a grumpy reaction from the cognoscenti and public alike, it saw a purer form of the Hill methods, dressed up in bright colours and with enough songs, mostly cover versions with altered lyrics as his Channel 4 show had exhibited to grand effect, to qualify as a musical. So what we had here was one for the hardcore Harry Hill fans who would recognise why Nan's antics were amusing given she belonged to a long tradition in his comedy, and why Abu Hamster (voiced by Johnny Vegas) was the equal of his hand puppet Stouffer of yore.

The plot barely stood repeating, since it was a flimsy excuse to string the surreal gags together, but essentially Abu, Harry's pet, was vomiting green goo so he had to take him to the vet's to see if he could be cured. What our heroes didn't know was the vet (Simon Bird) and his nurse (giant-sized Guillaume Delaunay) were in the pay of Harry's long lost twin brother Otto (Matt Lucas) who wants to kidnap the rodent for his own nefarious purposes. Misunderstanding hamster language, Harry takes Abu to Blackpool instead of going to see Rihanna, except even that simple drive is hampered by a multitude of mishaps from the henchmen sabotaging their every move to such issues as the SatNav becoming needlessly aggressive and useless by turn, or Harry falling for the daughter of the King of the Shell People, called Michelle of course (Sheridan Smith) much to Nan's displeasure. The invention that went into gathering, to take one section, a B&B run by pop group The Magic Numbers then seeing Abu grow to Godzilla size when irradiated was hard for many to take, but you'd know if this was for you.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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