Star Rating:

Mattress Men

Director: Colm Quinn

Actors: Michael Flynn, Paul Kelly

Release Date: Friday 7th October 2016

Genre(s): Documentary

Running time: 81 minutes

Michael Flynn might have had the vision – he wanted his name to be "as synonymous with mattresses as McDonald’s is with hamburgers" – but it's the ideas of his friend and employee Paul Kelly that get him there. Working in Mick's shop only one day a week, Paul set about pushing the character of Mattress Mick into the public consciousness and help the ailing business by directing his employer in a series of tacky YouTube videos (or the parodies of tacky YouTube videos). In serious debt and struggling to keep his family together, Paul hopes the videos will give him steady income but as Mick's star rises (radio slots and receiving a tweet from Stephen Fry of all people) Paul doesn't receive any acknowledgement, causing a rift between the two friends…

We are in a Golden Age of Irish documentaries and Colm Quinn's Mattress Men is the latest in a long line of stellar quality from Irish documentary makers (it's a pity that this will be released on Video-On-Demand the day it hits the cinemas as it could hurt audience numbers). A charming and uplifting documentary, this one is a real surprise and fears that this is a long ad for Michael Flynn's business soon dissipate when a heart-warming story begins to emerge. This isn't really a story about Mattress Mick but about Paul Kelly, the "drive behind (the) Mattress Mick" persona. It’s a brave decision. Mick is the face of the company and brings the quirky factor (the Back to the Future and gangsta rap videos are as hilarious as they are cringey) but director Quinn sees that the real heart of the story is Paul Kelly.

Paul is after security – namely a contract from Mick – that will help him get off the dole and a little closer to his dream: a post-it on his computer states 'I will buy a four bedroom house in Santry in 2015'. While Paul aims to ramp up the wackiness of the public persona, Mick all the while is very aware that he looks like a bit of a fool. Creative differences are not helped when Mick employs a PR expert to 'help', threatening to undermine Paul in his director's role. As tensions rise the inevitable showdown between the two friends boasts one of the most engaging scenes you’ll see this year – documentary or no. All the while Brian Traynor ambles about the streets in a mattress suit, shaking hands, happy as a clam - the perfect comic foil to the tense scenes between the boss and would-be employee.

Bursting with heart, this touching and funny story will warm the cockles.