Dad's Army

"Weak"

Dad's Army Review


The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little attempt to do anything clever with it aside from A-list casting. There are some terrific gags in Hamish McColl's script, but director Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn) fails to find the comical potential in the material. So the film feels clumsy and muted, which is certainly not going to attract a new generation of fans to the premise.

It's 1944 in the small village of Walmington on the southern English coast, where the men who were unfit to serve in the regular army have volunteered for the Home Guard when they're not working their normal jobs. The platoon's captain is bank manager Mainwaring (Toby Jones), who leads a ragtag group of retirees (Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson) and younger army rejects (Daniel Mays and Blake Harrison) through a series of exercises along the seaside cliffs. They've been tipped off that there's a Nazi spy in the area, but they're all so smitten by the curvy visiting journalist Rose (Catherine Zeta-Jones) that they fail to notice that she's up to something nefarious.

The material is ripe for political-edged comedy, which the script touches on in between the relentless double entendre. And the cast is definitely up for it, delivering solid performances that bring out character details while playing up the goofy interaction between them. But Parker leaves them looking adrift on-screen, never cranking up either a sense of pace or a spark of life. Each set-piece falls utterly flat, starting with the movie's opening scene in which the gang is chased around afield by a supposedly angry bull. And everything that follows feels half-hearted, which means that the Carry On-style innuendo, physical slapstick and nutty action all fall flat.

The general nostalgia may keep the TV series' fans engaged, as will the terrific cast. Jones and Nighy have some amusing moments as the bickering senior officers, working class and frightfully posh, respectively. Gambon and Courtenay find some witty angles to their dopey characters, Mays is snappy as the wheeler-dealer Frazer, and Harrison has fun quoting famous movie scenes as the dim-witted Pike. And the women's auxiliary unit is a nice touch. Zeta-Jones is always enjoyable as a slinky seductress, but the filmmakers seem even less sure what to do with her character than the idiotic soldiers do. So neither the verbal jokes nor the crazy action mayhem hits a comical mark, and the more intriguing historical elements are just as bungled. In other words, there is a lot of potential in this project, but little of that ends up on-screen.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Dad's Army here:



Dad's Army

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 30 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 31st July 1968

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones as Rose Winters, as Sergeant Wilson, as Private Godfrey, as Captain Mainwaring, as Colonel Theakes, as Mrs. Pike, as Lance Corporal Jones, as Private Pike, as Mrs. Fox, as Private Walker, as Private Frazer, as Daphne, as Cissy Godfrey, Holli Dempsey as Vera, as Mrs. Mainwaring, Ian Lavender as Brigadier Pritchard, as Warden Hodges, Frank Williams as The Reverend Timothy Farthing, Oliver Tobias as Dolly Godfrey, as Agent Cunningham, Mark Tandy as Mrs. Todd, Jacqueline Tong as Lundt, Russell Balogh as Colonel Keunzer, Michael Heath as Platoon, Stuart Adams as Platoon, Neil Broome as Train Passenger, Patricia Winker as Luftwaffe Officer, Pat Carney as Pretty ATS Girl, Ellen Capron as Platoon, Philip Gascoyne as Aryan Mother

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.