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Thread: Funny Bones

  1. #21
    Senior Member Country: UK didi-5's Avatar
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    I agree with others about Funny Bones - it really is a brilliant, if unusual and unsettling film. And Lee Evans was very good in it.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    AL Kennedy on Funny Bones



    Funny Bones � it's a film about being funny and about being yourself, about being funny as an expression, a definition of self. I think it's a vastly under-appreciated piece that actually manages to apologise (fully and in advance) for its co-writer and director, Peter Chelsom, having gone on to direct the otherwise inexcusable Hannah Montana: The Movie.



    The general scarcity of appreciation is, of course, no surprise � Funny Bones fits into no known genre and makes no compromises about its many, many peculiarities. It nods fondly in the direction of vaudeville pieces such as Duck Soup and has the humanity, imagination and emotional range of a good screwball comedy. The plot is a law unto itself. We begin all at sea and stay there � encountering violent death, magical powder, corrupt policemen, adultery, flashbacks, theft, comedy turns, despair, classic patter and commedia dell'arte. Tommy Fawkes, the son of famous comic George Fawkes, bombs on his opening night in Vegas. Golden childhood memories mean he runs away from the States to Blackpool. From this unlikely flight, he hopes to rediscover his funny, re-exposing himself to the best and worst and strangest that Blackpool can provide. In the process, he finds a lost half-brother, a number of dark secrets and embarks upon a comedic education that is both absurd and profound. And, along the way, some exemplary cinematography creates a sort of love poem to Blackpool and to the life of performance.



    The cast list is perhaps the most bizarre I have ever encountered, yet it functions exceptionally well. Leslie Caron and Oliver Reed are in support as an ageing sex-bomb and a camp megalomaniac respectively. UK stalwarts Richard Griffiths, Christopher Greet and Ian McNeice fill their roles perfectly as overbearing impresario, sentimental lawyer and dodgy copper. Freddie Davies and George Carl form a heartbreaking double act, surrounded by a host of specialist acts and carefully constructed cameos. At the heart of it all are Oliver Platt � embracing Tommy Fawkes with gusto � and Lee Evans, who gives what I think is the performance of his life as Tommy's mad-clown half-brother, Jack. Oh, yes � and there's Jerry Lewis, too. He delivers a beautifully calibrated performance as Platt's largely toxic, yet expertly likeable, father.



    If you've never wanted to run away and join the circus, if you have no interest in the arcane skills of tumblers, gimps, magicians, music hall and sideshow folk, if the art and craft and illusions of performance hold no appeal for you � then you probably won't like Funny Bones. But if seeing a 16th-century physical skit made new again, or watching the unnecessary beauties of expert comedy, or being embraced by a film that both likes people and manages to invoke nostalgia for the present appeals, then I think you'll be happily surprised. If you have any interest in humour at all then Funny Bones is steadfast in its exploration of every possible type of funny: funny that's stupid, skilful, angry, delighted, intellectual, insane; funny that's subjective, personal, insightful; funny that plays with body parts and stares at death, defies it; funny that defies life � its losses, its wounds, its despair; stolen, denied, abandoned and rediscovered funny. It's all here. And this is the real thing, real funny: not the fey and uncommitted posturing of Pierrots; not the crass, trousers-down laziness of bad slapstick; not the monumental irritation of yet another poorly presented and incomprehensible Shakespearean fool. This is a generous catalogue of skills � old skills, real skills, human skills � the ones that take funny into the place where it troubles and frightens and liberates. Enjoy.

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