A sensible piece from Richard Osman in January's The Guardian suggested that those who feverishly gnash with hate when Brendan O'Carroll's Moore Street matriarch has been commissioned another series/play sold into a territory/wins another comedy award don't really abhor her. There may be a strong dislike for the brand of comedy, sure, but what induces the hate is the show's runaway success rather than its crude antics. Stating that it's not for him, Osman does concede that it's “terrifically written, performed by a cast clearly enjoying themselves.”
He's right. But while this big screen venture of Mrs. Brown is a comedy from a writer who knows exactly what to do to appeal to the show's fan base, and boasts polished performances from a cast who have honed these roles over the last thirteen years, it will not win over the naysayers. Or gnashers.
Agnes Brown's (Carroll) days at her Moore Street fruit and veg stall are numbered: backed up by some dodgy Russian gangsters, a greedy developer is looking to buy up the area and puts in a handsome offer for her stall. Initially telling him to feck off, Agnes is forced to reconsider when a tax bill for close to four million euro arrives in the post...
With a topical story worthy of a movie, and dodging the stretched feature length episode problem that blights any sitcom adaptation, series director Ben Kellet makes hay with the opportunities a bigger budget affords. He throws the camera around a pretty Dublin, with the opening ten minutes featuring a helicopter shot of Dublin Bay and a musical sequence taking the audience through the streets of the capital (he has a difficulty in masking obvious product placement, however). With its snazzy visuals, its desire to explore a more pensive Mrs. Brown, and its toning down of the vulgarity, it's a more mature outing.
But when it doesn't work, it can be awful. Some of the jokes are reheated, ancient, appealing to those who haven't watched anything since Bottom. There's a barrister with Tourette's (Downton Abbey's Robert Bathurst), the visually impaired walk into things because they can't see, a gay man who's asked to do little but mince in a mankini, Simon Delany's solicitor is called Tom Crews.
If any of the above garnered a snigger, go, enjoy. If not, don't.