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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


The Guest House Paradiso sits on a cliff next to a nuclear power plant. Run by the unscrupulous Mr Twat (pronounced Thwaite) (Rik Mayall) with the dubious help of Eddie (Adrian Edmondson), it is the least expensive hotel in the UK. The rest of the staff have left for reasons of either drunkenness or madness. Twatís main interests are fleecing and insulting his customers. The result is very few guests. But when an unexpected influx of new arrivals, including runaway film star Gina Carbonara (Helene Mahieu) coincides with the sudden departure of the chef, Twat devises a cheap and nasty plan to provide a slap-up fish dinner.

"Since they became TV stars in the The Young Ones almost twenty years ago, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson have been developing and refining their aggressively crude brand of humour - which has some affinity with certain recent American 'gross-out' comedies. Still, it's hard to think of an American comedian who's willing to seem repulsive in the way that's Mayall's peculiar stock-in-trade: pushing forty and balding, he's still playing the same sniggering schoolboy, with his cheap nerdy suit and hideous leer. What's sometimes missed about Mayall and Edmondson is how old-fashioned and innocent their work is, and the extent to which they're self-aware comedy classicists. Their TV show Bottom is designed around a (very blokey) notion of comedy at its simplest and most basic: toilet jokes, sexual humiliation, guys kicking each other in the balls. Basically a bigscreen version of Bottom, Guest House Paradiso wallows in Three Stooges-style violence and crappy jokes that are decades if not centuries old: characters like the Italian sex symbol Gina Carbonara (yes, really) are straight out of a Carry On film from the early '70s. So why does the film fall flat? Probably because Mayall and Edmondson are working in an unfamiliar format without an experienced director. The pacing is frequently misjudged, and (compared to the accustomed grotty look of their TV shows) the production seems pointlessly expensive and overscaled. The dark, cavernous hotel set suggests Edmondson is aiming to create a Gothic alternate universe similar in feel to the slapstick netherworlds of Delicatessen or Mouse Hunt, but he just doesn't have the cinematic knowhow to pull this off. The film's failure shows up the dangers in their whole approach: there's a fine line between the deliberately stupid and the merely stupid, but once you cross that line it can be hard to go back."
Jake Wilson

"There is an audience for this film. There is for every film. It's just a little difficult to imagine who it might be but they would have to satisfy the following criteria: They would think watching endless projectile vomiting is hysterically funny. That silly voices are funny. That grown men hitting each other over the head and torturing every body part is funny. That bashing old women is funny. That the threat of rape is funny. That the names of Italian characters like Gina Carbonara and Gino Bolognese are funny. That jokes you can see coming an hour before they're delivered are funny. That the type of material that made The Young Ones funny a very, very long time ago can still be funny. That a gem such as Fawlty Towers can be made funnier. That a comedy doesn't need a plot. That a man running around in women's spiky rubber underwear is funny. That Jennifer Saunders isn't the funny one in her marriage to Adrian Edmondson. (Oops, sorry, lost the plot a little there - see what this tedious, sickly, abominable waste of an hour and a half has done?) Yes there's an audience for this film. The problem is it will be those dreadful little 14 year old boys who think spitting on passers-by is funny and they're not old enough to see the film because of its M (mature?) rating."
Lee Gough

"As a reviewer, I see a lot of movies. Some tell a great story with grace and insight. This isnít one of them. Some are hilariously funny. This isnít one of them. Some illuminate an aspect of the human experience. This isnít one of them. Some however are so repulsive, so unoriginal and so unfunny that you find yourself slack-jawed wondering how anything could be so bad. This is one of those. Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson reunite in this feature film which is actually more like a drawn out episode of their Young Ones TV series, mixed with liberal doses of Fawlty Towers and the Farrelly brothers. In fact, the plot is basically a rehash of the "rat" episode from Fawlty Towers - except everyone eats the veal. The characters also have an odour of staleness about them. Could it be that the disgusting, campy Mr Twat is actually an older, flabbier Rick; and Eddie a latter day Vyvyan? The plot is so thin itís embarrassing and the main device used to drive it is physical abuse. Donít get me wrong - I like a good nutcracker to the testicles joke as much as the next person - but the physical jokes are so repetitive here that the film long outstays even its modest 89 minutes running time. The material lacks any kind of spark. Stuff that may have worked on The Young Ones falls flat here. As for the performances, thereís not much to say. Mayall is appropriately awful as Twat, and the rest of the cast follow his lead. While researching this film I came across a review which dubbed it 'worst British movie of the year'. Thatís pretty accurate - even if you delete 'British'."
David Edwards

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CAST: Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Vincent Cassel, Fenella Fielding

PRODUCERS: Phil McIntyre, Helen Parker (III) (executive), Marc Samuelson (executive), Peter Samuelson (executive) Shellie Smith (line)

DIRECTOR: Adrian Edmondson

SCRIPT: Adrian Edmondson & Rik Mayall


EDITOR: Sean Barton

MUSIC: Colin Towns





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