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A Cock and Bull Story 2005

3.3 out of 5 stars (60) IMDb 6.8/10

Michael Winterbottom directs this off-beat comedy about an attempt to film Laurence Sterne's 'unfilmable' 18th century novel 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy'. Crossing the line between the world of the film and the life of the actors trying to make it, Steve Coogan plays both himself and Tristram Shandy, while Rob Brydon plays himself and Toby.

Starring:
Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Runtime:
1 hour, 26 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director Michael Winterbottom
Starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Supporting actors Keeley Hawes, Shirley Henderson, Dylan Moran, David Walliams, Kelly MacDonald, Ian Hart, Jeremy Northam, Kieran O'Brien, Gillian Anderson
Studio Lionsgate
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a smart, briliant and unusual story halfway between pure staging and reality/doc. An experiment done by courage and will to surprise, with an undergoing existensial reflection. A very interesting and somehow funny film
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Format: 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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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is quite a weird arrangement for a film that is difficult to follow at times because it moves around situations a lot and it doesn`t flow very well.However it does have some good and funny moments that are enough to keep watching.I had expected better from Rob and Steve but it`s reasonable entertainment.
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Format: 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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Format: DVD
No plot? The point of the film, and indeed the book, is that plot progression may be useful in telling simple stories but says nothing of the person telling the story. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a comic masterpiece, conveying perfectly the erratic and digressional nature of somebody trying desperately to write an account of all of the events, characters and opinions that have shaped his life thus far, whilst having fun with his audience. The film takes it's name from the final line of the book where the author, Sterne, admits that the whole story is such nonsense because it is meant to be.

I watched this film with trepidation, expecting it to be a hapless attempt at bringing the frivolity and energy of the novel to the less flexible medium of the big screen. Fortunately my fears were unfounded as Michael Winterbottom has created as good and worthy an interpretation as I can imagine it being possible to do. The half ad-libbed conversations between rob brydon and steve coogan are utter brilliance and the revelation that the documentary of the making of the 'film' is itself part of the acted film adds an interesting and relevant extra-layer.

The only reason this film does not get 5 stars is no fault of the film itself but of the restrictions inherent in translating a large novel to film. As a film in its own right, A Cock and Bull Story is funny, entertaining, multi-layered and intelligent but it is best seen as a modern and competent re-telling of a classic story.
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