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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cock and Bull Story.
Odd. Slightly confusing. Lacking in traditional structure...yes.
Intelligent. Chuckle-worthy. Original... Definitely.
A film, about a film about an unfilmable book.

A strange movie, undoubtedly and at first I didn't know how to take it. Was it a love story? Was it a mockumentary? One thing was certain...it was definitely a comedy. Quirky, off-the-wall...
Published on 6 Aug 2011 by Jodie-Lee Linley

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By cock and bull
The classic novel by Laurence Sterne is best described in this movie: "This is a postmodern novel before there was any modernism to be post about."

So it sounded pretty disastrous that a film was being adapted from it. Actually, half a film -- the other film is a mockumentary about a film crew desperaately trying to make some kind of movie, out of a book with...
Published on 19 Mar 2007 by E. A Solinas


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cock and Bull Story., 6 Aug 2011
This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Odd. Slightly confusing. Lacking in traditional structure...yes.
Intelligent. Chuckle-worthy. Original... Definitely.
A film, about a film about an unfilmable book.

A strange movie, undoubtedly and at first I didn't know how to take it. Was it a love story? Was it a mockumentary? One thing was certain...it was definitely a comedy. Quirky, off-the-wall jokes typical of Steve Coogan's works were a constant in this film.

My favourite aspect of this film was its combination of realism and surrealism making the movie delightful to watch. But another outstanding aspect was its portrayal of relationships; be it the clashing single-sided friendship of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, Steve's clashing relationship with the entire crew, Steve's failing relationship with his girlfriend and his sucessful relationship with his new mistress it was all delightful.

The "actors", or the actors portrayal of the actors,'s view of the film at the end of the film was a definite favourite scene.

They say that "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy" is the unfilmable novel, and similarly this film is the unreviewable film.
I cannot guarantee you'll love it, but it's definitely a one-of-a-kind and definitely worth the risk.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By cock and bull, 19 Mar 2007
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E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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The classic novel by Laurence Sterne is best described in this movie: "This is a postmodern novel before there was any modernism to be post about."

So it sounded pretty disastrous that a film was being adapted from it. Actually, half a film -- the other film is a mockumentary about a film crew desperaately trying to make some kind of movie, out of a book with way too much material. It's wickedly clever, but there's too little Tristram Shandy and too much about the shoes.

While his mother is in labor, a grown Tristram Shandy (Steve Coogan) narrates the backdrop of his life -- his awkward conception, the farcical circumstances of his birth, early penile injury, his uncle's obsessions and (ahem) war wounds, and the circumstances of being named Tristram (and not Trismegistus, which is even worse).

But then we cut to the real world, where a film crew is filming the whole thing. Star Steve Coogan (himself) and director Michael Winterbottom (Jeremy Northam) are struggling to make this novel as true to the spirit of Stern's book as possible. The problem is, there's WAY too much material, and everyone wants different aspects -- love story, battle, his own character -- to stand out as the MAIN part of the story. Will the movie be funny? A sell-out? A big confusing mess?

Filming an unfilmable book is usually either going to be a disaster or a masterpiece -- for the latter, look at "Lord of the Rings." But "Tristram Shandy" hovers somewhere in the middle, courtesy of its mockumentary storyline, and some pointed mockery of the studio bigwigs.

Basically, the bigwigs interfere and insist on stars -- such as Gillian Anderson, who barely makes it to the final cut -- and hoard money, because the movie is too quirky for their tastes. Meanwhile, the stars quibble about minutiae (like shoe height), and real-life director Michael Winterbottom deliberately blurs the lines of fantasy and reality, letting one seep into another. And it has Coogan in a giant plastic womb.

And there's an extra kudos for the dialogue. Half of it is deliciously witty modern stuff ("The thing is, I can't act..." "I know that." "... with Gillian Anderson. I have a proper sexual thing for Gillian Anderson. I covet her"), but there's a whole different style for Tristram. He tends to have these faux-serious metafictional monologues, which end up being very funny ("That is a child actor, pretending to be me. I'll be able to play myself later").

The problem? Well, there's too much of Coogan and not enough Shandy, especially in the second half. It would have improved the movie dramatically to cut some of this stuff about Coogan flirting with Jennie out, because it's really quite dull compared to Tristram. When the fantasy/reality starts leaning too heavily into reality, the movie starts sagging. Big time.

Coogan does a pretty good job playing himself, but he's much better as Tristram/Walter -- arch, wry and kind of inconsiderate. Rob Brydon is enormous fun as himself/Toby, and Naomie Harris is fairly good as a movie nut who specializes in arty German cinema, and not much else. Anderson isn't in the movie for long, but her "equipment" scene is gutsplittingly funny.

"Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story" is a very funny film, but one bogged down by too much reality (and Coogan). Entertaining, witty and strange.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film of two halves and too many half-measures, 11 Feb 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
True to the style of the novel until it becomes sidetracked, prolific underachiever Michael Winterbottom's riff on Tristram Shandy, A Cock and Bull Story is a half-decent attempt to film an allegedly unfilmable novel, something it does surprisingly well for about half an hour until it gives up and concentrates instead on the travails of making the movie and the growing paranoia of leading man Steve Coogan as he is increasingly upstaged by Rob Brydon. Unfortunately, as so often on the big screen, Coogan is decidedly awkward at first, and the comedy isn't as biting or funny as you'd like, relying a little too awkwardly on injokes. All too obviously a film of two halves, with the backstage story taking over the movie completely for the best part of an hour before returning to the narrative briefly, it's hard not to feel it would have benefited more from dipping in and out of the novel rather than abandoning it for so long. But there's still much to enjoy, not least Rob Brydon playing a love scene in the style of Roger Moore, though it falls far short of Coogan and Winterbottom's previous collaboration, the excellent 24 Hour Party People.

Although at first sight fairly skimpy on the extras, the DVD offers surprisingly good value - not only does the full interview with Tony Wilson (who Coogan played in 24 Hour Party People) appear as promised in the film, but the deleted and extended sequences, though few in number, are longer than expected.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cock and Bull story, 28 July 2013
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This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I watched this a couple of years back and wasn't that impressed. I've just read Tristram Shandy and that made the world or difference! I loved it. Great fun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast, Well Crafted and Imaginative, 24 July 2011
This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This is almost unique. A Comedy period drama that interacts cleverly with the pseudo 'real life' of the actors as they make it and draws subtle parallels with the Novel. It has a slightly dark feel to it, together with fast well crafted scenes that merge seemelessly. Constantly surprising, often surreal - well written/acted. It is one that will grow in depth and appreciation the 2nd time you watch it, as the first viewing will leave your mind reeling.

If thats put people off - basically, If you liked 'The Trip' - you will love this.
Its a brilliant piece of work. Congratulations to all concerned.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll either love it or hate it, 19 July 2006
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This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I don't necessarily want to say the reviewers who hate this film are wrong but they didn't seem to understand the concept of this film. It's not supposed to have a plot and the film intelligently plays on the concepts of the book which is about life not actually having a plot.

Also Rob Brydon steals much of this film so I don't think you have to be a Partridge fan at all. Especially as the comedy is so different (and it is funny even if there a very few "jokes", the power struggle between Coogan and Brydon is excellent).

So I'd recommend making up your own mind and keeping an open one before seeing it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it, 15 Jun 2011
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This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
The film loses momentum but it made milk come out of my nose at one point so that's a win. If you've ever laughed at Adam Sandler then I'd give this a miss.
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1.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the most annoying and pretentious films, 11 Oct 2014
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This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This is one of the most annoying and pretentious films,, utter rubbish. Its Self indulgent and as about as funny as a dead badger on the road. Why such talent gathered to make this drivel, I have know idea. The trailers looked great.....so I bought it......utter plop. The product of course was in excellent condition, arrived early and was very competively priced. They were a five star service.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Not What You Think It Is, 25 Mar 2010
By 
Eric John (Planet Earth) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I think the common problem with all the nay-sayers here is that they had too high expectations. They either expected more because they loved the novel or they expected more because they love Coogan.

I showed this to my class of French students as an example of postmodern British film because my first choice went missing at the last minute. They loved it, and after seeing it two times, I loved it too.

The key is, don't go in with any expectations. Yes, it's all over the place, but yes, it is at times VERY funny.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reel Moviemaking, 18 Nov 2009
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
The British director, Michael Winterbottom, has become renowned for his manner, which comprises in having no manner at all. Each movie is pronouncedly different from the last, as if he relishes having the chance to try his hand at all genres and in all styles. But `A Cock & Bull Story' - an attempt to film Laurence Sterne's eighteenth-century novel-cum-autobiography-cum-whatever `The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy' - is in a league of its own, because it is a postmodern-ish take on a pre-postmodern-ish work of fiction. To talk of a film within a film within a film is too crude. If you like playfulness, you'll love it; if you want a linear narrative with a beginning, an ending, and a plot inbetween, then go elsewhere. Sterne himself said "Life is a cock and bull story", i.e. a joke, so perhaps we should leave it at that.

So, how to describe this film to someone who has never seen it? Well, for a start it is quite indescribable. It can be viewed from innumerable angles, but for me the most cogent is that of the process of moviemaking itself. But the more times I see this film, the more I see it differently; I am never bored, and I would not be surprised if in ten years' time it starts to appear on those list of best-films-of-all-time by the critics.

There are clever and witty observations and improvisations by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in the accompanying commentary, which they claim to have done naked. Other extras include the complete Steve Coogan/Tony Wilson interview, three deleted scenes, and four scene extensions. The additional behind-the-scenes footage includes a highly interesting sixteen-minute tour of Shandy Hall with Stephen Fry and Patrick Wildgust (sic). All-in-all, this is a very generous package, but with neither sight nor sound of Michael Winterbottom himself (well, not much).
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A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006]
A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] by Michael Winterbottom (DVD - 2007)
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