Film review: Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie (15, 94 min)
One for the Mrs B fans only
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.
Comedy/Action. Brendan O’Carroll, Jennifer Gibney, Eilish O’Carroll, Pat Shields, Rory Cowan, Paddy Houlihan, Danny O’Carroll, Robert Bathurst, Dermot Crowley, Richard Attlee, Simon Delaney, Sorcha Cusack, June Rodgers. Director: Ben Kellett.