Twitter Plot Summary: Inexplicably popular BBC sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys hits the big screen. Like something brown hitting a fan.
Five Point Summary:
1. Threats about being bigger and better than the TV version soon discovered to be unfounded. It’s just as bad.
2. The first of several mistakes left in the film.
3. Racist Asian stereotype #3.
4. Starting to get gradually more silly.
5. Everything is wrapped up nicely. Except it isn’t.
It’s a bad sign when the funniest part of a supposed comedy film are the outtakes which, much like the original TV show from which this spins out, make the odd appearance throughout the main film and also run through the end credits. This “meta” approach to making television shows and in this case a movie is arguably the only aspect of the Mrs Brown’s Boys template that works, with Brendan O’Carroll frequently attempting to make his fellow cast members laugh or flub their lines.
The plot, such as it is, sees Mrs Brown having to ward off the advances of a local councillor who wants to close down the Moore Street market where Mrs Brown runs a fruit and veg stall. The market’s proposed closure is in order to appease the cliché Russian criminal who wants to use the site for a big generic supermarket. Mrs Brown then has to defend her patch despite the odds being weighed heavily against her.
Fans of the TV show will likely find much of it hilarious, however for the rest of us there isn’t nearly enough substance to justify seeing it. Irish comedy has been better represented in the past by the likes of Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews with Father Ted, or the nation’s strong lineup of stand-up comedians. The jokes are laboured and frequently aimed at the lowest common denominator. Why write a well constructed joke when you can just resort to a plethora of F-bombs?
A poorly judged use of a racist stereotype (which in fairness is much of what constitutes the film’s list of characters) sees Brendan O’Carroll pulling double duty, donning a ninja outfit and a dubious Asian accent to play Mr Wong, the head of a blind ninja training school. These days there’s really no call for including this type of character, unless it’s done knowingly and with either a satirical or ironic edge to it. Clearly Mr Wong is neither of these things, instead he’s just an excuse for O’Carroll to portray a white man as Mr Miyagi.
There are a couple of good moments of pathos as Mrs Brown discusses bringing up her six children – although on the whole they’re barely used. It doesn’t matter that the Russian criminal plot doesn’t get a resolution because of the obligatory “Super Happy” ending for Mrs Brown and her family. It’s almost as if stretching a story out to feature length has resulted in O’Carroll running out of ideas at the halfway point and not fleshing out the story properly. It maintains a fair amount of development in the first two thirds but then degrades into a simple chase inter-cut with a courtroom showdown that drags and with few exceptions lacks any genuine laughs.
The overall result is noting that the cast and crew clearly have a love of Dublin, Ireland and all it stands for, but this in itself is not enough to establish it as a funny movie, or even a good one. Again, fans of the show will likely lap it up and call it a good movie, but then they would be bang wrong.