Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

georgie and I are almost always willing to expend $8.50 at the cinema to satisfy curiousity, and we wer both curious about "Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story," she becasue she had read Stere's famous novel "The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman," and I becasue I had not. It has become a cliche in the reviews to refer to the book as "unfilmable." All I can say following this movie is, it hasn't been filmed yet, either. newspaper and internet writeup have been fairly frank in describing the way the movie breaks the fram with the actors initially commenting on the action as actors, and then sequeing into a sort of making-of film. What most writers aren't clear on is how very little of the novel is actually even attempted to be put on screen. despite the fact that, as some of the crew characters say, there's so much in the book, the film essentially gives up on Sterne's story after about a half-hour to forty minutes on one sequence involving Tristam's birth. After the actor's end shooting for the day, we follow the cast and crew through a long night of scripting and casting conferences, arguements and flirtations that are not nearly as clever, funny, or interesting as the tantalising bits of the novel we got before. One hopes that we'll eventually get back to seeing some of the "movie" but we never do. Even in a scene of wotching the rushes, we watch the crew watch the rushes, but don't get to see the actual rushes. The strong impression one has is that they gave up on trying to adapt the novel and just decided to make a "making-of" movie instead. The problem is, it's not even a good making-of film. A lot of what passes for creative process looks like feckless flailing about to me, and the crew characters are pretty uniformly dull mundane losers. I could generate a lot more witty and creative dialog from the amature theatrical troupe I'm currently working with. Star Steve Coogan, when playing "Steve Coogan" presents himself as a petty, shallow, self-absorbed, ignorant, philandering asshole who is jealous of, and abusive to, his cheerfully clueless co-star Rob Brydon. I'm not sure to what extent Coogan is being honest here or if he is, as they say, "taking the piss out" of himself, but the portrayal doesn't really make me want to see any more of his movies.

Disappointing. Give it a miss.
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