Brendan O’Carroll’s creation gets the big screen treatment in Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie
MRS BROWN’S BOYS D’MOVIE (15)
First conceived for Irish radio and then as a series of books, the misadventures of feisty Dublin matriarch Agnes Brown transitioned seamlessly from stage to small screen in 2011 with the birth of the BBC sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Creator Brendan O’Carroll cast relatives and friends in supporting roles, ensuring the programme was a true family affair.
Critics may have been unkind but the series gained an ardent following.
The 2013 festive special topped ratings on Christmas Day, trumping Doctor Who.
Now, Agnes and her dysfunctional kin stampede the big screen under the direction of Ben Kellett.
Lord help anyone who gets in her way!
Agnes proudly runs a fruit and vegetable stall in Moore Street Market, which has been passed down through the family for generations.
The foul-mouthed harridan hopes her daughter Cathy (Jennifer Gibney) will take up the mantle but a dastardly developer, PR Irwin (Dermot Crowley), intervenes with plans to bulldoze the site.
“They won’t take me without a fight, whoever they are,” Agnes tells Fat Annie (June Rodgers).
Unfortunately, Agnes has a 3.8 million Euro tax bill to settle stretching back to her grandmother’s time.
Aided by Cathy, her sons Mark (Pat Shields), Rory (Rory Cowan) and Dermot (Paddy Houlihan), and next-door neighbour Winnie (Eilish O’Carroll), Agnes resolves to take on the Irish establishment and give it a good spanking.
Dermot’s best friend Buster Brady (Danny O’Carroll), bumbling lawyer Tom Crews (Simon Delaney) and a well-to-do barrister called Maydo Archer (Robert Bathurst), who is prone to stress-related Tourette syndrome, pledge their support to Agnes’s seemingly hopeless cause.
Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie opens with a fire safety announcement from the eponymous matriarch “in case we have to ejaculate de building”.
This sets the crude tone for the next 94 minutes.
Punchlines are depressingly predictable and the absence of a laughter track from a live studio audience exposes the script’s dearth of gags and imagination.
O’Carroll evidently subscribes to the mantra: if it isn’t funny on the page, add some profanities.
While Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino would probably doff their baseball caps to this slurry of gratuitous expletives, repeated uses of cuss words for desperate laughs becomes wearying.
Aside from the large-scale musical numbers that bookmark the haphazard narrative and a pointlessly protracted chase sequence, the film has no obvious cinematic ambitions.
A hare-brained subplot involving Mr Wang (Brendan O’Carroll again), Chinese owner of a school devoted to training blind ninjas, embraces hideous stereotypes that the malformed character might himself describe as “a rittle bit lacist”.
Like its small screen counterpart, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie doesn’t edit out gaffes and revels in moments when the cast corpse one another.
If only we were so easily amused.
Five years ago, Melissa McCarthy was a jobbing stand-up, juggling time between the US comedy circuit and acting work.
Then came Bridesmaids.
Cast as an overly aggressive singleton, who surveys one potential suitor and growls, “I’m going to climb that like a tree”, McCarthy unleashed a comic whirlwind that has been blowing at gale force ever since.
She earned Bafta and Oscar nominations as Best Supporting Actress for Bridesmaids, and won an Emmy the same year for hit sitcom Molly & Mike.
Hosting stints on Saturday Night Live garnered more Emmy nominations and back-to-back film roles alongside Jason Bateman in Identity Thief and Sandra Bullock in The Heat confirmed her Midas touch at the box office.
Now the innately lovable star produces, co-writes and headlines this brash, oestrogen-fuelled road movie, which sees her husband, actor Ben Falcone, venture behind the camera for his first stint in the director’s chair.
Alas, McCarthy’s golden touch doesn’t extend to scriptwriting because Tammy is a hotch-potch of half-formed characters and ideas lacking nuance and depth.
It’s fitting that a comedy about a 40-something woman on the brink of emotional meltdown should itself be a shambles but, as a viewing experience, Falcone’s inaugural offering is more pain than gain.
The luckless heroine is Tammy (McCarthy), a dishevelled fast food restaurant worker, whose car is wrecked by a wayward deer.
She’s subsequently fired by her boss and Tammy arrives home early to discover her husband Greg (Nat Faxon) enjoying a romantic meal with a next-door neighbour (Toni Collette).
Ignoring the warnings of her mother (Allison Janney), Tammy embarks on a road trip with her profanity-spewing, hard-drinking grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon), who has always wanted to visit Niagara Falls.
The gung-ho ladies seek sanctuary with cousin Lenore (Kathy Bates) and her partner Susanne (Sandra Oh), and enjoy the company of cowboy Earl (Gary Cole) and his son Bobby (Mark Duplass), who takes a shine to Tammy.
“I don’t think putting two messes together is going to make an unmess,” she declares profoundly.
With each new misadventure, Tammy slowly realises she is mistress of her destiny.
Clumsily scripted and poorly paced, Tammy huffs and puffs with good intentions but barely raises a smile.
McCarthy works tirelessly but she’s on a hiding to nothing.
Misery is heaped upon the titular protagonist to the point of absurdity, which wouldn’t matter if Tammy was a fully fleshed, endearing creation, but she bellyaches and gripes, without any urge to remedy her dire situation.
As Pearl acutely observes, “Every time something bad happens, you throw a fit!”
The second half softens Tammy with the introduction of Duplass’ nice guy, who evidently sees positive qualities in her that we can’t and almost don’t want to.