White Collar Crime



I’m going to end last year with a review of a white collar crime movie.

No, it doesn’t star Leonardo Di Caprio. Nor does it feature Jonah Hill.

So that rules out Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

The white collar crime I am writing about is instead perpetrated by the British comedian, Harry Hill.

Because the crime I am reporting is the making of ‘The Harry Hill Movie’.

Although it’s not the worst film screened during 2013 – that dubious honour goes to ‘A Belfast Story’ – it is still pretty bad.

And, rather tellingly, Hill’s first cinematic outing has had a rather low key release, with the comedian popping up on CBBC to promote it.

Directed by Steve Bendelack, the movie is essentially a yarn aimed at families, constructed around the comedian’s penchant for surreal jokes, comic asides and naff sing songs.

But what makes the movie remarkable is the cast Hill has assembled.

Julie Walters dons granny clothes and a granny wig once more to play a woman beyond her years as Harry’s nan.

Oscar winner Jim Broadbent turns up in drag as a cleaner in a nuclear power plant.

Sheridan Smith is plastered in sea shells as Hill’s love interest – a sea creature named (wait for it) Michelle.

Indie pop band, The Magic Numbers also turn up as the owners of a seaside bed and breakfast.

So what’s the plot? Basically it revolves around Julie Walters’ nan leaving Harry Hill’s evil twin Otto, played by Matt Lucas from ‘Little Britain’, at the side of the M6 to be raised by Alsatians.

Years later, Otto wants to exact his revenge by kidnapping Hill’s beloved Abu hamster (geddit?) who inexplicably sounds like Johnny Vegas and has started to spew green vomit (cue ‘Exorcist’ gags).

Lucas employs two incompetent henchmen, Simon Bird from ‘The Inbetweeners’ and Guillaume Delaunay who pursue Hill, Walters and the hamster on a wacky road trip to Blackpool.

And if that isn’t enough, Julian Barratt from ‘The Mighty Boosh’ turns up as a sea king and like the unwelcome Ghost of Christmas Past, Marc Wootton (Mr Poppy from the execrable ‘Nativity’ movies) pops up as another shell person, Barney Cull.

There are machine gun wielding chickens, a ‘Rocky’ spoof, a ‘Car Wash’ spoof, a ‘Les Miserables’ spoof, a martial arts spoof, a sat nav with the voice of a Yakuza boss, a motorised scooter chase and there’s a grande finale on top of the Blackpool Tower.

Harry Hill has become a family favourite on ITV, thanks to his voice over for the video clips show, ‘You’ve Been Framed’ and ‘Harry Hill’s TV Burp’.

But while ‘TV Burp’ was at its best when Hill was in the studio lampooning clips from actual TV programmes, its weakest moments were often the sketches.

Unfortunately, ‘The Harry Hill Movie’ is like one long sketch and is a gobsmacking waste of some considerable acting talent.

Towards the end of the film, in a reference to his character being raised by Alsatians, Lucas asks: “Do you know what it’s like trying to fit in by licking your bum?”

Having watched Broadbent, Walters and Smith’s trying to fit in in this mess of a movie, I think I do.


About Dan McGinn

Dan McGinn has been a journalist since 1989 who has worked for the Irish News, Belfast Telegraph and the Press Association news agency where he served as the Ireland Deputy Editor and Political Editor. In 2008 he joined the Northern Ireland Executive's Information as a Principal Information Officer, working for Arlene Foster and Sammy Wilson during their tenures as Environment Minister. A year later, he joined the University of Ulster as its Director of Media and Corporate Relations. In 2013, he was appointed Media and Corporate Affairs Manager at the Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland. A long suffering West Ham fan, he is married with a Disney and One Direction obsessed daughter. A graduate in Film and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, he has been a film buff ever since he saw 'Jaws' at the age of six in Belfast's Grove Cinema and still loves cinema despite exposure to 'Alvin & The Chipmunks' and 'Nativity 2' as a critic for this website.