Sunday 30 April 2023

Movie Review: Stan And Ollie (2018)

Genre: Biographical Dramedy
Director: Jon S. Baird
Starring: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Danny Huston
Running Time: 98 minutes

Synopsis: In 1937, a contract dispute with producer Hal Roach (Danny Huston) drives a wedge between comedy movie duo Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly). In 1953, with their peak popularity days well behind them, Laurel and Hardy reunite and embark on a theatre tour in England. Laurel promises Hardy that a film deal may also be in the works, but first they need to navigate poor attendance, past hurts, thorny dynamics between their wives, and deteriorating health.

What Works Well: Based on real events, this is a story of a deep friendship sustained after the limelight has faded. Director Jon S. Baird humanizes Stan as the creative business mind balancing Ollie's larger-than-life, hopeless-with-money jovial presence. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly deserve credit for portraying men with faults rather than screen personas, with a noble dedication to the success of every next show. The final scene is a wonderous embodiment of a career bow.

What Does Not Work As Well: This is an ultimately small story, pumped into inflated prominence but still struggling to justify even the 98 minutes of running time.

Conclusion: A pleasing-enough salute to comedy masters approaching the final fade-out.

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