Saturday, January 11, 2014

Carry on Sargeant

As a bunch of new recruits comes in a drill sergeant bets his comrades that he will produce the top platoon before he retires in ten weeks time. Unfortunately for him he ends up saddled with a grand bunch of losers who are probably drive him in sane well before he ever retires.

This is the first of the Carry On films, the long running series of low brow British comedies that poke fun at everyone and everything. Most of the jokes are secondary to the plot, or rather the plot is simply an excuse to move the cast from one gag set up to the next, and really isn't important.

I had never knowingly watched a Carry On film until I sat down and watched this film. I'm not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly the cast is game, its lead by William Hartnell as the Sergeant of the title. Hartnell is best known as the first Dr Who, and he made a career out of playing this sort of part. He is joined by a stalwart cast of British comedians,who are all expert at what they do, which is produce a great many laughs (I have no idea who any of them are even though all of their faces are very familiar from other films and TV shows.)

I'm torn about the film. Taken as a series of set pieces this is a screamingly funny movie. The jokes are the sort that are not only laugh out loud funny, but will make you laugh so hard that you'll go light headed. On the basis of the jokes its easy to understand why this film spawned 31 films, several TV specials and stage shows. Unfortunately as a movie, with a plot this film is the pits. Its awful. None of it really hangs together as the numerous character plot lines cross and recross to very little effect. It almost sinks the movie since the good stuff clashes badly with the bad stuff.Still I haven't laughed this hard in a good while, which makes rating this movie difficult.

If you're a fan of British comedy its worth a look. Its also worth a look if you like military humor or don't mind a comedy that has a a bad plot line, but very funny jokes. Rent it or borrow it, but don't buy it (at least until you've seen it an know if you like it).

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