Britain’s got cliché



Simon Cowell.

He’s the man whose given us Robson & Jerome, Mr Blobby, Il Divo and One Direction.

He’s the man who has also made millions out of so so TV talent shows like ‘X Factor’ and ‘Britain/America/Australia Has Got talent’.

And he has done this by becoming a household name with his routine as a TV pantomime villain, with heavily signposted putdowns, unfeasibly high trousers and an annoyingly smug grin.

Now he’s embarked on a career as a movie mogul – milking every pound, every dollar, every euro out of his mediocre talent show franchises.

Last year Cowell’s production company, Syco Films gave us a 3D documentary of his most successful pop franchise, One Direction.

Morgan Spurlock delivered an appropriately inoffensive and competently crafted hagiography ‘This Is Us’. With the boyband’s dedicated fanbase, the $10 million film had a ready made market and made a tidy $57 million profit.

Last year, Cowell’s production company also dramatised the back story of the first winner of ‘Britain’s Got’s Talent’ – the mobile phone shop manager turned tenor, Paul Potts.

‘One Chance’ featured James Corden as Potts, with Colm Meaney and Julie Walters as his mum and dad. It received its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival but performed unspectacularly in cinemas, taking in only $5.8 million.

Now Cowell has turned to another winning act from series seven of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and he’s brought on board, his fellow talent show judge David Walliams to provide the voice for his canine hero, Pudsey the Dancing Dog.

He’s also recruited Nick Moore, the director of the horrid 2011 family film ‘Horrid Henry: The Movie’.

Cowell no doubt has high hopes that Pudsey will cast a spell over film audiences in the same way Uggie the Jack Russell wowed the international chat show circuit for the Oscar garlanded silent film ‘The Artist’.

As if to ram this home, Moore begins his movie with Pudsey wrecking havoc on the set of a black and white movie that looks not too dissimilar to Michel Hazanavicus’ Oscar winner.

And soon we are treated to a cliche ridden title sequence after Pudsey is fired, with the dancing dog roaming the streets of a London populated by Pearly Kings and Queens, fashionistas and making obligatory trips on a Boris Bus and the London Eye.

It is during a bus ride that he comes across schoolkids’ bullying Izzy Meikle-Small’s troubled teen Molly, her Playstation obsessed brother, George (played by Spike White) and her other brother Tommy (played by Malachy Knights) who hasn’t uttered a word since they lost their dad.

Pudsey comes to the rescue and returns to the family home, tempted by the promise of sausages and he ends up heading with the children and their mother Gail, played by Jessica Hynes, from London to the sleepy rural village of Chuffingdon.

Their new home is a dilapidated farmhouse with dodgy plumbing and there’s something not quite right about their cat loving landlord Mr Thorne, played by John Sessions, who clearly has other intentions towards the land.

Will Pudsey uncover and foil his dastardly plan? Should you care?

No. ‘Pudsey the Movie’ is a lazily scripted, poorly acted and blandly made movie which tries to tap every single cliche and cheap emotion imaginable.

It’s hard to know where to begin in describing the terrible banality of Moore’s movie.

Let’s start with Paul Rose’s script.

When you come out of a movie thinking you’ve seen more edge of your seat episodes of ‘Balamory’, you know you’re in trouble.

Working with very little, the cast mug their way through the film.

Walliams, an overrated and limited comedy actor even at the height of his ‘Little Britain’ fame, is especially irritating – choosing to portray Pudsey as a meat obsessed imbecile.

But to give him his due, even Bill Murray would struggle to breathe life into lines like “cat got his tongue, dog found it.”

Sessions completed misfires as a Terry Thomas style villain, while Hynes seems to sleepwalk through the entire movie.

Incredibly, Olivia Colman and Peter Serafinowicz turn up as talking horses and there is a pooing pig who thinks he can lay eggs.

Even the children are unconvincing.

While the under-10 target market might be amused, parents be warned.

Resist going to this movie at all costs. Otherwise, you will find it more dispiriting than the ‘Nativity’ movies and Harry Hill’s recent cinematic venture.

And when the final credits roll, that’s when the horror really begins to sink in.

Will Cowell give us ‘Stavros Flatley the Movie’? Surely we are not going to be subjected to the cinematic adventures of Little Mix, Susan Boyle or Collabro?

‘Pudsey the Movie’ makes the prospect of sitting through ‘Mrs Brown Da Movie’ seem palatable.

In fact, I’d rather get rabies than see it again.

(‘Pudsey the Movie’ opened in the Movie House and other UK and Irish cinemas on July 18, 2014).


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