Jim Archer directs David Earl, Chris Hayward and Louise Brealy in this British comedy where an eccentric but lonely inventor makes a sentient robot out of a mannequin’s head, a washing machine and two gardening gloves.
Full disclosure – I’ve worked with David Earl’s comedy creation Brian Gittins on the stand-up circuit and Edinburgh fringe before, think he’s a mad genius in his own way. This proves a strange but winning mix of lo-fi cringe, “indie movie” sheen and teatime kids movie. It probably is at its best when resembling Danny Champion Of the World or Bernard And The Genie rather than when it is leaning a bit too heavily into a very polished Wes Anderson aesthetic. The middle section is consistently laugh out loud funny. Gittins and Charles Petrescu have a lovely oddball rhythm together, and I was invested in how the dynamic would evolve once the makeshift robot begins to stop being a naïve sponge and starts to resemble a stroppy teenager. The big finale loses the jokes, aggressive tinker Eddie and his bullying family play out like a genuine threat. Seeing them get their comeuppance is crowd pleasing but I preferred the shoestring Odd Couple moments where an isolated soul finally gets someone to boil cabbages with. I can see this becoming a cult favourite and hope if Brian Gittins does get a third big screen outing (he was in Cemetery Junction too) he produces something a little less family friendly but equally as weird and wonderful.
Perfect Double Bill: Ex Machina (2014)
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