… build a robot.
That, at least was Brian’s solution in the newly released British Comedy, Brian and Charles.
Why do we nationalise comedy? Are we so different, or just arrogant that our comedy is somehow better, more comedic than, say, the Dutch or the Tristan Da Cunans? Perhaps it’s because comedy isn’t as universal as, say, a love story. It’s very personal, what makes us laugh. I doubt it is even national or regional or dependent on postcode or street number or shoe size or a voting inclination or anything.
So recommendations of funnies can belly flop with the gravitational pull of the dropped slice of buttered toast and whether they end up sticky side up or down is dependent on goodness knows what…
The latest ‘British’ comedy is a slow paced story set in Wales of Brian, a man adrift and incapable of realising he is actually in a rut, let alone climb out. He’s a local handyman and, in his glory hole and glorious man cave, aka the cattle shed, he invents. A pine cone bag, a mechanised mug washer, an egg belt, he turns his mind and hand to all sorts. He raids fly tippers’ worse excesses and uses his finds to inspire yet more crackers inventions. And that leads him to a washing machine and a robot. Said Robot rejects Clive and Tony as names and chooses Charles.
He grows though compliant baby years to rebellious teenagerdom while bringing some ordered meaning to Brian’s life.
It’s not easy, mind. There’s a love interest which Brian seems destined to cock up without Charles’s bluntness; there’s a local bully to be confronted and there are Charles’ growing needs to be independent.
It’s the sort of film that, unlike most of the output on Prime and Netflix and the Beeb doesn’t need any warnings. There aren’t many upsetting scenes – maybe, two – and nothing very dramatic.
You don’t punch the air when you leave the cinema; you stand back and let the chap in front go first. You smile, but not a lot. You don’t overthink it; you don’t have any particular insights, apart maybe from the fact that nice guys can win and when they do… things aren’t really that bad.
And you get home and England’s women have won the semis of the Euros and a little girl is all over twitter for dancing with the team as they celebrated and…
… the news comes on and reality bites…
…but only a little. Thanks to Brian and Charles, one man and his robot.