This is initially enjoyable but does become tiresome - the idea is that Johnny is semi-kidnapped and forced back to his comedic roots at Edinburgh, having become complacent with telly and money. Trouble is, the bullying both of his agent and the psycho comic sharing a flat with him in Edinburgh become rather samey and predictable over the length of the film. And the idea he is a passive victim of his agent's whims (hasn't TV given him some sense of his own power?)doesn't quite convince.
It's a particularly frustrating watch because Vegas's character can fit into a convincing storyline, as his show on Channel Four some years ago demonstrated. This was The Johnny Vegas Television Show (not issued commercially as far as I know), which had him as a pathetic, alcoholic loser living in the shadow of his shining hour at Skegness Butlins, and boring anyone within earshot about the purity of his work as an entertainer. The show had several "real" people improvising with Johnny, including Adrian Manfredi, a genuine ice cream man continually pestered in the local park by a penniless Vegas. He reappears in this film as his sponsor for Edinburgh (hence the title of the feature and the supposed stage show), though there is no reference to this earlier acquaintance.
As other reviewers have said, the excerpts from live performances, both as part of the film and as extras, are the most impressive thing: that knife edge between the shambolic and the inspired, familiar to anyone who has seen him in the flesh.
And as for the rest of the film's content, some may ask why should the storyline matter that much as long it means we get to see Johnny Vegas for ninety minutes (or whatever)? Well, yes, it does matter. It matters because once we're aware that this is a situation contrived to make us laugh then that undoes the illusion of this comedian tearing out his entrails which is at the heart of his live performance - and that Channel Four show was funny because you never stopped believing you were watching a truly desperate but driven man.
It also has to be said that the limits of Manfredi's improv skills are more noticeable in Who's Ready For Ice Cream?; in the other programme he simply has to react to Johnny winding him up most of the time. And there is a more complex and profound conclusion in the other programme where Johnny remains an alcoholic loser with dreams of returning to his Butlins glory days but is at least the recipient of kindness from others (a benign park keeper) and remains safely cushioned in his own drunkeness and dreams.
I know I've gone on about a programme not itself the subject of this review but it has so much that seems to fit the Vegas character that it seems the best way of explaining why Who's Ready for Ice Cream? misfires and demonstrating that Vegas's character can indeed work in an extended story.