Top positive review
20 of 21 people found this helpful
Brilliant adaptation of a brilliant book.
on 20 March 2007
I saw this film before reading the book by Tom Sharpe, and although some say that pretty much ruins the reading for you, I'm still glad I did, as when I came to reading the book I could 'hear' the voices of Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith in their respective characters in my head, which made it all the more enjoyable. I'd bought it largely because I'm a fan of Smith and Jones' work (their 'news for the elderly' sketch is one of the funniest things I've ever seen), so despite a number of mixed reviews elsewhere my expectations were still fairly high.
The film itself does differ in places to the book, although this didn't really matter to me. It moves along at a steady pace and there are enough funny moments to keep the viewer's attention. The performances are excellent, particularly that of Griff Rhys Jones, who plays the title character. His range veers from anger (directed at a blow-up doll he's trying to get rid of in one of the funniest scenes in the film) to quiet bewilderment as he is continuously questioned by Mel Smith's Inspector Flint, who puts in a performance good enough to make you sympathise with him, despite his heavy-handedness. The two main actresses, Alison Steadman and Diana Quick, also bring their characters to life. Steadman's Eva differs quite strongly (physically at least) from Tom Sharpe's version yet this does not detract from either of them.
I do feel that the film could've benefited from a bit more length - perhaps more time could've gone into Wilt's life at home and the college, as well as his relationship with Eva (more exploration into her faddish nature), but this is a minor fault. Overall this is an excellent film that can be rewatched and still make you laugh. The humour ranges from the small one-liners to outright farce, which creates a film with a pretty broad comic appeal. The extras are pretty good too: interviews with Smith, Jones and the director, as well as some brief location footage. Not bad for a British film in the late 80s!