Saturday, 2 December 2017

No. 130 : The Actors

 The Michael Caine-a-thon reaches film 19 out of a potential 111 with ‘The Actors’, which I saw on general release in 2003 and awarded an IMDb score of 7 - but can remember nothing of it. That’s not to dismiss it out of hand as it is good fun, but I doubt I’ll have retained much of it when I inevitably come to watch it again in 15 years time.

Caine plays Anthony O’Malley, a washed up actor who is starring is a risible theatre production of Richard the Third set in Nazi Germany.  The cast includes Bernard Black himself, Dylan Moran, who is an awful actor but is kept on as he helps Caine with his hump. Both are at a low ebb after Moran fails a sausage commercial audition and Caine realises he’ll never get out of debt or low rent roles unless something changes.

Opportunity knocks when Caine, who is researching a role in a gangster’s bar, hears of an unclaimed debt for which the two parties involved have never met. This seems a bit convenient but it gives them the chance to hatch a scheme where their acting skills can be employed to collect the debt and split the cash.

The gangster, Barreller, played by Michael Gambon seems a tough prospect at first but Moran soon softens to him especially when he meets his daughter, Cersei Lannister. The Actors manage to get the cash but soon have to resort to ever more elaborate schemes to keep the real villains from taking back their money and exacting some deserved revenge.

‘The Actors’ is a pretty good distraction for 90 minutes. It’s no masterpiece but there are plenty of laughs throughout with the two leads quite happy to take the piss out of their profession and the luvvies who inhabit it. Caine especially does well as the old ham O’Malley. His language is choice throughout and he shows real dedication by appearing in drag at the end - how the baddies were ever convinced he was a woman is another matter.

The film has a five acts narrative device with a cute nine year old girl giving the narration and the guys some pointers. This was a bit cutesy pie for me and didn’t sit well in a script where every other word was an expletive. The pace did bounce along well though, and it was only towards the end that things started to get a bit muddled and contrived.

The two leads were good value but Michael Gambon seemed a bit muted in the potentially fun role of Barreller. He didn’t have too much to do though, conceding much of the ground to Lena Headey as his daughter who had to do her best with a thin romance with Moran.

It was good to see a lot of familiar faces bobbing about such as the sarcastic priest off ‘Father Ted’. He’s a really good actor!

All in all this was a fun film that didn’t take itself too seriously and neither should you. A suspension of disbelief is required as there are a lot of unlikely events, but it’s worth your time for Caine and Moran cursing a blue streak in some elaborate make up if nothing else.

THE Tag Line : Luvvie It 70%

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