UK Release Date: 20th December 2013
Runtime: 88 minutes
Director: Steve Bendelack
Writer: Harry Hill, Jon Foster, James Lamont
Starring: Harry Hill, Julie Walters, Matt Lucas, Simon Bird, Johnny Vegas, Sheridan Smith, Julian Barratt
Synopsis: When his hamster is given one week to live, Harry Hill takes the pet and his Nan away for a final holiday to Blackpool, but kidnappers are on their tail.
The work of TV comic Harry Hill is, to say the least, polarising. Some find his TV Burp television round-up overly juvenile and reliant on lavatorial humour, whilst others tuned in every week to make it a staple component of the Saturday night schedule on ITV. With that show put to bed, Hill has turned his hand to cinema with this marvellously bonkers mess of a movie.
Harry Hill, as himself, is living with his grandmother (Julie Walters) and pet hamster Abu (Johnny Vegas). When a slightly sinister vet (Simon Bird) tells him that Abu has a week to live, he decides to take him on a trip to Blackpool. On the way, they bump into a race of shell people (Sheridan Smith, Julian Barratt, etc), Harry’s brother (Matt Lucas) – raised by a pack of Alsatians – and a pair of villainous kidnappers.
The Harry Hill Movie is, frankly, a relentlessly stupid hour and a half of cinema. But that doesn’t stop it from being incredibly entertaining.
Hill has a real talent for combining pop culture observations and broad farce with quite outlandish surrealism. Combined with Julie Walters being up for absolutely anything, this makes for a great comedy formula.
The entire cast throws themselves whole-heartedly into the bizarre narrative in which The Magic Numbers own a B&B and Jim Broadbent is the receptionist at a power plant… in drag. The Harry Hill Movie sometimes strays too far into zany hijinks and the musical numbers are pretty much a joke-free zone, but a lot of the material does stick to the comedy wall.
Unfortunately, a lot of The Harry Hill Movie does feel like it’s merely an extended television episode from some kind of late night BBC3 sitcom. Thankfully, it’s considerably more like The Mighty Boosh than that description suggests – a fact confirmed by the presence of Boosh star Julian Barratt in a minor role.
The surreal stuff often works best, especially in the case of the puppetry work that brings the Johnny Vegas voiced Abu to life. This is an odd movie, but one that remains laugh-out-loud funny throughout.
Pop or Poop?
The Harry Hill Movie is far from perfect, but along with Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and The Inbetweeners Movie, it proves that British TV comedy can make the successful jump to the big screen.
Here, Hill is on typically zany form, cracking wise and also showing a real grasp of the surreal. Not all of the rapid fire jokes actually work, but when they do, the film is a really fun ride.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.