The Actors (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/05/2003

One out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Dismal “comedy” that is almost entirely laugh-free. Unless your idea of comedy is Michael Caine mugging and Dylan Moran in disguise.

Many years ago, there was once a “comedy” called True Identity, which featured Lenny Henry disguising himself as a white man. Perhaps you were unlucky enough to have seen it.

At any rate, The Actors, which stars Dylan ‘Black Books’ Moran is about as funny as True Identity was. Which is to say, not very.

Seemed Like A Good Idea

On paper, it must have looked like a good idea. An original concept by Neil Jordan, an established stand-up comedian who’s proved himself on TV, a classy supporting cast, featuring the likes of Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson, not to mention That Nice Mr Caine.

Even the director had at least one decent (if little seen) film behind him, in the shape of I Went Down. So it’s a mystery how it all turned out as bad as it did.

Moran plays jobbing Dublin thesp Tom, who falls in with Michael Caine’s O’Malley, a slice of pure ham. Together they come up with a plan to impersonate a gang of debt collectors and swindle some cash away from local gangster Barreller (Michael Gambon).

This involves Dylan Moran putting on a) a Comedy Disguise and b) a Comedy Accent. Things get further complicated when he finds himself falling for Barreller’s daughter Dolores, played by Lena Headey (pronounced Lee-na Hee-dy, pronunciation-fans). And, naturally, Things Go Horribly Wrong.

It’s mildly amusing to see Caine hamming it up as Richard III, but that’s not really something we haven’t seen before. Also, Dylan Moran can be funny, but he’s given nothing remotely humorous to do here – in fact, the funniest running gag is that Tom’s nine year-old niece is the Master Genius behind all their schemes.

Generally Embarrassing

Mostly, the film is just embarrassing – a mish-mash of bad accents, poorly thought-out “comedy” moments and shouting. Lots of shouting. Oh, and swearing, which, as we all know, is both Big and Clever (and the sole reason the film is a 15).

It also manages to completely waste Miranda Richardson as the rival gangstress. Similarly, Lena Headey is given nothing to do except simper around in the thankless 'girlfriend’ role.

Hopefully, The Actors won’t scupper Moran’s chances of future film roles, because on the strength of his sitcoms, he’s a talented comedic actor. He definitely deserves better than this. To be discreetly avoided.

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Content updated: 23/04/2019 01:48

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