I got to the Nick Frost/Simon Pegg party late. I never saw Shaun of the Dead, even though my friends raved about it. Since I missed their humorous take on the zombie flicks, I’m glad I caught their send-up of the police/buddy cop dramas. It’s one of the funniest films of the year.
I’ve always been hit-and-miss with British humor. Some Monty Python is good, some isn’t. I loved Benny Hill. I think the British Office is better than the American version, because it’s more subtle and realistic. Fawlty Towers was great, but I hate just about everything that Mr. Bean guy is in.
This is a movie that is funny no matter what type of humor you like. That’s because it’s a smartly written parody, and when a joke works it works.
Pegg wrote and directed this movie with writing partner Edgar Wright. They all first worked together in the sitcom Spaced in 1999. This is their third outing, and they knock it out of the park.
The premise of the movie is that London cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is such a good officer, they ship him to a tiny rustic village. You see, he was making the rest of the force look bad. This village doesn’t get a lot of activity. That’s why the trailers for the film showed him going after a rogue swan.
He is partnered with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). He’s the bad cop in this tiny town. He worships the cop flicks America produces, and wants some of those adventures. That reminded me of Anthony LaPaglia griping about that very thing to Alan Arkin in So I Married an Axe Murderer.
Butterman should’ve been careful what he wished for. Soon, gruesome murders start occurring.
Even though I’ve seen thousands of movies, I’m guessing I missed some of the references they threw in. Some were obvious (The Shining, Point Break, Bad Boys II, The French Connection, Lethal Weapon).
It was nice to see former Bond Timothy Dalton show up as the bad guy. We also get talented British actors Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy.
The jokes in this work so well because the movie is both a genre picture that Michael Bay would’ve done, as well as a comedy (Bay movies are often unintentionally funny). They’re not cops the way Leslie Nielson and O.J. Simpson were in Naked Gun.
I can’t knock the movie for much. Perhaps some of the pacing was a bit off. They certainly could’ve shaved 10 minutes off the ending; but for a movie that didn’t look particularly funny in the trailers, I was very pleasantly surprised.
I’m giving it an A-.