A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Smallfoot’s” messages of togetherness, the pioneering life story of a famous French writer “Colette” and “My Generation,” Michael Caine’s look back at the Swingin’ Sixties.
In the Swingin’ Sixties Michael Caine had much luck with the ladies. Perhaps you already knew that. If not, it’s about the only thing you’ll learn from “My Generation,” a new peppy but unnecessary documentary.
“My Generation” starts off well enough, painting a vivid picture of drab post-war England. Grey, class conscious and run by stiffed-shirts London was far from the hip vortex it would become with the advent of Bibi, mini-skirts, the Beatles and Pop Art. Caine, who acts as host, along with new and archival interviews with John Lennon, Marianne Faithfull, David Bailey, Jean Shrimpton and other luminaries, describe the beginnings of a cultural revolution. They talk about shattering the class divide that kept working class men and women from breaking into public life, the country’s sexual awakening and Paul McCartney’s appetite for LSD. In short, how sex, drugs and rock n’ roll made London the coolest place on the planet for much of the 1960s.
From there it becomes a greatest hits look back, a K-Tel collection of interviews and footage. It’s fun to hear some of these stories rehashed—Why Faithfull was naked when the police burst into Keith Richard’s home in 1967?—and see the sights but these are fuzzy thumbnails, not full resolution pictures.
Most of “My Generation” is engagingly told and Caine is a charming host but it often feels more like the nostalgic musings for a long ago time than insightful commentary.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the animated Yeti’s of “Smallfoot,” “Colette’s” coming-of-age and the reminiscences of Michael Caine in “My Generation.”
Richard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the continuing adventures of the USS Enterprise “Star Trek Beyond,” the family-friendly “Ice Age: Collision Course,” Edina and Patsy’s drunken adventures in “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” and the ‘are you afraid of the dark’ movie, “Lights Out.”
Any film that includes “:The Movie” in its title is bound to be little more than a larger version of the TV show, videogame or whatever the source material may be. “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie,” based on the popular British TV show about best friends bonded by a shared enthusiasm for heavy-drinking and drug abuse, is true to form in that it is less a movie than it is an excuse for some sitcom nostalgia.
Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) are hard-living socialites on the edges of London high society. Edina is a washed-up PR agent, trying desperately to maintain her lavish lifestyle. She’s not out of money, her “cards are broken.” Patsy is the fashion editor of a snooty magazine who injects foetus blood into her face every morning to stave off the effects of partying and age.
When Edina’s plan to sell her memoir to a huge publisher fails—“You think your life is interesting, but it isn’t,” she’s told. “It may be worth living but it’s not worth reading.”—she becomes determined to recruit fashion icon Kate Moss as a client. Thus begins a wild journey that includes suspected manslaughter, a sham marriage, worldwide grieving and more self-absorption than you can shake a bottle of Bollinger Champagne at. Self absorbed and on the run from a murder charge, Patsy and Adina confront their age and try to keep the party going.
“Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” isn’t exactly absolutely fabulous. That’s the easy joke, which is appropriate because this movie goes for the easy joke time after time. It certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel and makes up for its lack of inventiveness with a parade of cameos from British luminaries like Lulu, Emma Bunton, Joan Collins and Graham Norton. In all there are 60 celebrity drive-bys. The only one missing is a Benny Hill.
The leads are broad characters in the sitcom tradition, prime examples of the dangers of arrested development. Luckily both can deliver a line—“Leopard skin and liver spots… that’s old age camouflage.”—with dead precision and will do almost anything to get a laugh and the over-the-top reaction to Kate Moss’s disappearance is very funny (“She will either have drowned or be very, very wet.”), I just wish there were more laughs to be had. I think fans of the television show will still get a kick out of Edina and Patsy’s co-dependence and enabling—it’s the glue that binds them together—but for everyone else the movie will feel like an overlong sitcom episode.