Derek & Clive Lose The Plot
- Derek and Clive Get the Horn review by Count Otto Black
This film seems to be extraordinarily popular with a very small minority who love it to bits. Everybody else should be aware that it's the comedic equivalent of torture porn. This is a documentary about two legendary comedians sitting in a studio for two days while they record an album, and discovering in the process how much they've come to hate each other. It was meant to be three days, but Dud walked out because he couldn't stand another minute in the same room as Pete. Apart from a few minor guest appearances, what you are watching here is the ugly, bitter end of the 20-year Pete & Dud partnership, and the effective death of Peter Cook's entire career.
Dud was a totally unexpected rising Hollywood megastar. Pete was a critically acclaimed comic genius with no career management skills and alcohol and mental health problems who was suddenly in the shadow of the partner he'd always regarded at least partly as a stooge. Desperate for money, Pete begged his old buddy to record one last album with him, and then, apparently under the influence of either serious amounts of booze or total insanity (or indeed both), took the opportunity to pour out all the envy and resentment he'd built up in an utterly deranged flood of bile until his best friend walked out and barely talked to him ever again.
Hilarious, no? Actually, it does have its funny moments, when the gleefully filthy sketches spark a little bit of the old cameraderie. But nearly all of this material is available, some of it in extended versions, on the CDs "Ad Nauseam" and "Come Again", minus the ugly, tedious bickering in between. And even when they're recording, too often Pete simply screams at Dud in a truly pathological manner. As for Dud, his constant mirthless laughter seems to be provoked more by nervousness than amusement, and at one point he has to be talked out of leaving halfway through both the album and the movie. Mind you, when it gets to the stage where your co-star is deliberately spitting chewed-up food into your hair, walking out is probably your best option.
It was actually illegal to own or watch this film in any form until 1993, due to its combination of almost non-stop incredibly strong language, and a very crude discussion about the sexuality of Jesus Christ at a time when blasphemy was still a crime. Perhaps that's why some people think it's a good film. But really, it's mostly just depressing. Russell Mulcahey, who also made "Highlander", its terrible sequel, and lots of movies you've never heard of for a very good reason, points the camera in roughly the right direction and hopes for the best. Third-billed Richard Branson (yes, that guy!) pops up very briefly as the perpetrator of a practical joke Dud isn't amused by in the least. Dudley Moore grits his teeth and tries to bear it, but can't. And Peter Cook makes you like him a lot less than you did before watching this film. So don't.
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