Mindless, and not much of the other thing either...
- Mindhorn review by Count Otto Black
Although I never found the self-consciously weird and wacky "The Mighty Boosh" as funny as it was cracked up to be, and what I've seen of other projects masterminded by the same team hasn't impressed me much either, this film involves many talented people and its basic premise sounded pretty good, so I thought it might be a lot of fun. I was wrong.
That basic premise of a washed-up actor getting into a ghastly predicament because a crazed killer thinks the character he plays is real is the only idea they've got, and the peculiarly ham-fisted way they use it simply doesn't stretch to anywhere near an hour and a half. The writers obviously know this, because early on the main plot very suddenly and clumsily stops, is completely forgotten about for ages while the story shifts to the hero's extremely clichéd attempts to rekindle an old romance, during which most of what humour there is derives from a Dutch supporting character's difficulty with the English language, and then abruptly kicks in again much later on. And oddly, although the writers seem to take it for granted that the concept of a cheesy eighties detective with a daft name who is basically a cross between the Six Million Dollar Man and Bergerac is so intrinsically hilarious that it can carry the film all by itself, Julian Barratt spends a great deal more screen-time playing Richard Thorncroft, a cross between David Brent and Alan Partridge who isn't anywhere near as funny as either, than he does playing Thorncroft in character as Mindhorn.
The script is just plain awful, with a slapdash approach to pace, character, and pretty much everything that borders on randomness. Veering wildly between grim black humour and zany slapstick, the plot is less a narrative than a series of barely connected situations that happen to involve the same people. Many of the jokes are older than God. The police are morons too useless to catch a suspected murderer who literally has a mental age of nine without the help of a fictional character, not because this is funny, but because making them even more stupid and inept than Thorncroft/Mindhorn is the only excuse the writers can think of to justify him being involved at all. Steve Coogan in a minor supporting rôle effortlessly reminds us he's a much better actor than anyone who's in this movie for longer than him. And if you're wondering what Kenneth Branagh has to do with any of this, it's a classic example of hiring a really famous actor for one day so you can put his name on the poster. Bela Lugosi's in "Plan 9 From Outer Space" for longer than Branagh's in "Mindhorn"!
If references to the Isle of Man (which offers very generous tax incentives to films shot there, including this one) were in themselves funny, this would be the funniest film ever. Unfortunately it's not, though it might be the Isle-of-Man-est film ever, so I'd recommend it to anyone trying to make up their mind whether or not to book a holiday there. But as a comedy, not so much. The only moment that genuinely grabbed my attention was a closing credit I had to rewind in case I was seeing things, but no, it really did say: "Executive Producer: Ridley Scott". The story of how they persuaded someone like him to have his name associated with something like this would probably be a much funnier movie than the one they actually made.
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
- Mindhorn review by BM
Hard to imagine why actors of the calibre of Kenneth Branagh and Simon Callow would want to associate themselves with this appalling, juvenile and singularly unfunny film. We gave up on it after 30 minutes, and that was too long. Don't bother!
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
Improves as it goes along
- Mindhorn review by RW
Like others I was not impressed with this film at first, it appeared unoriginal and cliched and which I was most surprised considering the talent in it. However as it went along I warmed to it, the plot didn't go where I expected it and the characters developed in way I hadn't predicted. It's not a classic by any means but I recommend you watch the full film before forming an opinion.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.