Star Rating:

People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan

Director: Jack Clough

Actors: George Keywood, Asim Chaudhry, Allan Mustafa

Release Date: Wednesday 18th August 2021

Genre(s): Comedy

Running time: 97 minutes

There's a law as old as the Magna Carta in the United Kingdom that if a successful sitcom is to get a big-screen adaptation, they have to leave the country and go on a foreign trip. Most recently, you had the likes of 'The Inbetweeners'. In the past, you had Rowan Atkinson's mute idiot turning up in Hollywood, Harry Enfield's pimply teenager going to Ibiza, and further examples into the past including 'Are You Being Served?' landing in Spain. So it goes that 'People Just Do Nothing' takes the Kurupt FM crew and pulls them out of dingy England and drops them into the neon-soaked, glass-filled beauty of urban Japan.

As you'd expect, the formula that worked to make the TV show into a BAFTA-winning enterprise is put to the test here. Where you had hopeless idiots completely enamoured in their own belief in London, now it's Japanese people looking at them with more bewilderment than derision. It works, for the most part, and there's enough variety in the scenarios that it doesn't fall apart too quickly. As well as this, layering in a story about the crew's friendship being put to the test when real success and money comes into the scene helps to pad the movie out and give it a surprisingly warm centre to it that you wouldn't necessarily expect.

Although 'People Just Do Nothing' came up in the wake of David Brent and 'The Office', it has a unique flavour to it and its pedigree feels more aligned with 'This Is Spinal Tap' and the work of Christopher Guest than anything else. You've got the same sense of comic timing, allowing awkwardness to fill the moment, the obliviousness of the central characters, and a few moments to shine through with their talent and their appeal. Add in the Japanese setting and you have a pretty solid comedy adaptation here. Will it rewrite the rules for British sitcoms to movie? Absolutely not, but to be fair, it's not trying to and you can't really hold it against it either. After all, it's served well in the past and audiences do turn out for them.

If you've never heard of 'People Just Do Nothing' and you're coming into this cold, you needn't worry about not getting some of the jokes. In fact, you don't even have to have an interest in grime music either. Really, 'Big In Japan' is just one of several stories about hapless but good-natured idiots thrust into the big time and trying to stay in the limelight as best as they know how. You've seen this movie before, yes, but it's still a good time nonetheless. Think of it as a garage remix.