Tag Archives: Hamlet 2

The Parole Officer: A Coogan-y Film

I must admit I was excited to see Steve Coogan’s face on the cover of this movie on my Netflix. 2001 is a bit iffy for comedies for me (I’m a 200 and late… -r), but this one did the job for the most part. Steve Coogan wasn’t at top form (a bit of a problem) but I got through it all the same. The first scene was promising, but you can only be so outrageous before nobody watches your movies…

The story of The Parole Officer is a pretty straightforward one. Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, and awkward and sad probation worker (confusing movie title, I

All too true…

know…). He is being transferred to another city (Manchester, I believe) and he’s going to be attempting to correct those sorry crooks that litter the streets of England. What he stumbles upon is something a bit more intense. A fellow officer in crime prevention, Inspector Burton (Stephen Dillane), commits a murder that is caught on security camera. Holding the evidence in his possession, Burton the crooked cop is planning on framing Garden if he tattles. Not wanting this being held over his head, Garden employs the help of the only four former criminals he corrected in robbing a bank with the tape inside. Oh, the comedic irony.

The most awkward place for Coogan? Strip club.

It’s pretty cut and dry from there. The movie has some of Coogan’s own brand of awkward comedy, but not enough to make it a signature film of his. (I’d say Hamlet 2 is more his style.) You get an awkward sense of Alan Partridge, but it comes up short of expectations. The acting is fine and the movie is dated, which always makes it a bit hard for me to watch. But overall, think Johnny English with dry comedy instead of slapstick. You got this film right there.

There are a couple of great little parts other than the versus mode of Coogan/Dillane. There’s Ben Miller as Colin, one of Garden’s former clients. Being Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in Johnny English, it was a nice change to see him delivering comedy more than being the straight actor taking it all in. There’s Lena Headey as a watered down version of the strong British actress she will one day become in things like 300 and Game of Thrones. Not the most adequate of cops, it

Team of crack cons, assemble!

always gets weird whenever Coogan lays his puffy lips on a love interest in a movie. And then there’s a non-speaking cameo from Simon Pegg in the art gallery scene. I had no idea what to expect there. But worth a laugh.

The bank heist is a little above my understanding with some strange technology lingo and complicated means of infiltration, leaving part of the movie as bland. The back and forth between the cons was fine, although overall it lacked a certain star quality for me that would’ve

Aha! I’m Simon Garden.

sent the jokes home better. It really was an all eyes on Coogan film for me. Throw in some slapstick/situational comedy towards the end (and a break-in scene reminiscent of The Dark Knight) and you have yourself a throwback to the 1950’s heist movies. Not a bad roll into one.

Not one of my favorites, but not the worst Coogan attached film I’ve seen. I still feel like one of my only friends who actually recognized/knew Coogan in Tropic Thunder, something that saddens me to this very day. But it’s not about notoriety or popularity. There are those of us out there who salute Steve Coogan for his amazing contribution to the world of comedy. He deserves a ranking up there with Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas/David Walliams, and even Monty Python. Can’t get enough of those Brits. For this, I give The Parole Officer a 6.8 out of 10.

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The Trip: A Short Review

Here’s a little interesting film I enjoyed with my mother and fellow blogger (see the side of my blog for her page) about the wonders of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. In a great move by these two fantastic English actors, a show these two did a few years ago was edited down and turned into a “best of” compilation of their hilarious interactions in this film simply called The Trip. In this movie, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon expand on their characters of a hilarious movie they did quite a while ago, A Cock and Bull Story.

So Steve Coogan is at a lull in his career and decides to take a little break from whatever work may come his way. In order to impress his American girlfriend and try to get some action, he arranges to do a food tour around the U.K. But things go wrong. Coogan’s girlfriend backs out and Steve must find someone to go with him on this restaurant journey. Lo and behold, Rob Brydon an “acting friend” of his agrees to go along. Without any opportunity of furthering his career or relationship with his girlfriend, Steve Coogan must endure a few weeks with what he seems to consider Hell.

Rob and Steve. Psychos.

Let me just start off by saying that the Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon combo is just pure genius. A cynical downer (Coogan) and a middle of the road family man (Brydon) creates someone with nice comments and someone to shoot them down with a negative blaster. What’s more, this movie makes Steve Coogan seem like the crankiest, worst actor of all time. He puts himself in such tense, awkward situations, you ever wonder how he finds women to cheat on his girlfriend with. With his career in the dumps, you can expect absolutely no good ending for Coogan and Co.

Coogan at the crossroads.

But that’s the charm of the English and their humor. Not everything has to end so happy go lucky and perfect. What would be better now would be to watch the show and see how much of a spiral Steve Coogan goes through. (It wouldn’t be much longer than the movie, but it would still be legit.) Where the real humor comes in this film is the impersonations of Rob Brydon. And, not to be outdone, Steve Coogan attempting to correct the impersonations of someone far better than him. The imagined mediocre lives of these two characters comes to fruition as the tale continues to the point where the two are happy to return home more than anything else. And the Michael Caine impression. BEST SCENE EVER.

If you’re a fan of Steven Coogan and his films/shows:

Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, I’m Alan Partridge, A Cock and Bull Story, Hot Fuzz (cameo), Hamlet 2, Tropic Thunder, or any of Coogan’s Baby Cow production shows,

then definitely check this out. I’m not as familiar with Rob Brydon other than A Cock and Bull Story, but he was well worth the watch for his comedic relief in one of the darker comedies I’ve ever seen. You really have to appreciate the down in the dumps/dump on myself comedy that Steve Coogan exudes. And I do. I find Steve Coogan, as I will review in the future, as one of the funniest men of *gasp* the world. Give him a try, he’s worth it. (And Rob Brydon.) 9.6 out of 10.

Darkest scene ever.