Yes, this arrived just now in my country’ theathers (1st of may, to be precise), and i’ll be blunt, that’s my only gripe with Jon S. Baird biopic about Laurel and Hardy’s beloved comedic personas.
In 1953, after their Hollywood days and a long period apart, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy reunite for a tour in english theathers, in order to rack some needed cash, and also train for their upcoming movie about Robin Hood, pitched to a producer but still in the air. They are warmly welcomed by the public, still enamoured with their antics and affable charm, but it’s not the relatively small packed crows they attract at first, the competition coming from the cinemas (or the home video), not even the rise of new comedic duos like Abbott and Costello the main problem.
It’s their crumbling friendship, with old grudges resurfacing, the constant knowledge of them being a thing of the past, held together by their personas more their actual selves (or so they think), and a conflicting view on many things, all made worse by Oliver’s degrading health. It’s a tale about mending a broken friendship in the world of entertaiment when you’re not top dog(s) anymore, and it’s beatifully executed, even more because you don’t really need to have a lot – if any – familiarity with the duo, or even like the passè style of comedy (i personally think it’s more cute than funny today).
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly do a stunning job portraying the comedy duo, which is shown not as overly-idealized , but as a couple of flawed individuals (the controversy with Hal Roach is portrayed, for example), with a great balance of drama and comedy, that celebrates earnestly friendship and passion for the craft.
Funny and quite touching.