What We Did on Our Holiday
Love it or loathe it, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins’ television show Outnumbered has generated a staunch following, paying dividends for the writer/director duo who have now transferred their skills to cinema with upcoming family comedy What We Did on Our Holiday.
The film’s main narrative thread – safe at best – tells the story of a strained middle class family get-together to celebrate grandfather’s more-than-likely last birthday. Incredibly, though, the movie’s driving force is not the impending death of a relative but the family’s continual bickering over issues that nobody, us included, cares about. The film’s lack of emotional terrain is best exposed when the children, who after seeing their loving grandfather die, react with complete indifference, remaining much more concerned about stopping their parents from arguing than having just witnessed his death.
That aside, great comedies have the potential to provide the perfect bulwark against sketchy storylines by papering over plot holes with unique, thought-provoking and funny as hell humour, of which What We Did on Our Holiday has little to any. Furthermore, the dreary implications of its turgid script are compounded by a technically weak production: slack editing, bland lighting and an obvious musical score create the veneer of a CBBC production and suggest the whole piece would feel more at home in 1995, following Newsround.
Harbouring a strong main cast, who are exempt from the film’s failures, they deliver their half-baked characters with consummate ease. Billy Connolly, alongside the accomplished yet unchallenged David Tennant and Rosamund Pike, thankfully provide welcome contrast against the pallid filmic environs.
This film could quite easily have been entitled Outnumbered: The Movie (but with a marginally different family) and therefore fans of the television programme should thoroughly enjoy this film, as will anyone else who seeks thoughtless, middle of the road, dishwater comedy. Choruses of “it’s easy watching”can already be heard in defence of its lack of substance – an argument that provides a yardstick for measuring viewing satisfaction, which renders the CBeebies show Zingzillas an equally rewarding watch for an adult.
What We Did on Our Holiday is released nationwide on 26th September 2014.