Twitter Plot Summary: Harry Hill goes big screen as he contends with an ill hamster and his evil twin brother who was raised by Alsatians.
Five Point Summary:
1. Chicken snipers = awesome.
2. Giant traffic cone car.
3. Godzilla reference.
4. Sea shell people!
5. Obligatory musical finale.
Set in an off-kilter version of the UK, The Harry Hill Movie is a knowing, self-referential and overall weird film, featuring much of the surreal humour that defined Harry’s show TV Burp. For those not in the know, TV Burp was a Saturday evening programme where Harry analysed that week’s television in a fast-paced quickfire series of sketches and amusing asides to camera. Here he moves the style of the show into a feature length narrative with sadly mixed results.
Half disguised as a musical, for there are many, many songs throughout, Harry is trying to make his Nan (Julie Walters) move out of their shared home whilst having to contend with the evil plans of his twin brother who was raised by Alsatians. Believe it or not, this is not the most outlandish part of a story which includes a race of shell people, a B&B owned by The Magic Numbers, a talking fox and chicken snipers. That is, chickens which are snipers. A gag about various Sat Nav voices is perhaps one of the few that work well, although the joke could have benefitted from being a bit tighter in the edit – not a good sign bearing in mind the total run time is less than 90 minutes with credits.
The references to The Exorcist are a little at odds with the childish tone, although there are the odd moments that are targeted at the adults in the audience with jokes that would be lost on the youth simply because they’re a little bit saucy. A Godzilla reference, with a man dressed up as a giant hamster in this instance, is perhaps the best sequence, and hits just the right level of ludicrous as he stomps around the beach at Blackpole (they have a black pole and a nuclear power plant) whilst Harry and his Nan talk complex scientific theory in the foreground. Further references to Jurassic Park, King Kong and Rocky are delightfully low budget but are just as equally tired homages that don’t quite hit the mark.
On the other hand some of the casting choices are inspired – Jim Broadbent as an old cleaning lady (yes, you read that right) is a particular highlight. Julian Barratt’s role as Conch, leader of the sea shell people, has a role similar to the kind he played in The Mighty Boosh, but the role is so underdeveloped it doesn’t get anywhere close to being as amusing as the Boosh were capable of. Julie Walters meanwhile looks like she’s having a ball despite the poor material, as does Simon Bird as an evil henchman and dentist.
Much of the setup is akin to the apparently innocent age of the 1970s – although with recent developments and Operation Yewtree, perhaps its not so innocent an era after all. Harry shares a bed with his Nan and has a bit of a thing for a woman made of shells, and the humour is as laboured as It all adds up to a film that is all over the place tonally, and lacks the killer punch that TV Burp maintained on television. A younger audience may get something from this, but for the adults who enjoyed TV Burp, there is little to recommend.