“In 1953, several years after their last film and with their immense celebrity on the wane, Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan, The Trip to Spain; Philomena) and Ollie Hardy (John C. Reilly, The Lobster; Cedar Rapids) embark on a live tour of British seaside towns and music halls. Surprised by the modesty of the bookings and cramped little guesthouses, the two endure a subdued beginning to their tour. They struggle for audiences and their booking agent seems disinterested. But a series of tv guest spots and celebrity appearances soon rekindle the country’s interest in their genius and the buzz grows as they head towards a big London finale.
As the attention builds, so too do old resentments, coming to a head as they’re joined by ‘the wives,’ Lucille and Ida (Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda, a hilarious double act in their own right).
Coogan and Reilly fans know their brilliance as physical comedians, but to watch them here is a revelation; they nail body language, mannerisms, and also routines the duo would have known in their sleep after decades performing together. Craft is sublime throughout, crystallized in a dazzling six-minute opening sequence captured by Laurie Rose’s camera team. Director Jon S. Baird (Filth) and screenwriter Jeff Pope (Philomena) offer a poignant study of lifelong male friendship, and a fitting tribute to two of cinema’s comedy giants.” (Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival)
“It is eccentric, sad and stirring to the core. Oh yes – and incredibly funny, too.” (Robbie Collin, The Telegraph)
“Featuring uncanny and hugely personable performances by Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy, and a smart script by Jeff Pope (Coogan’s co-writer on Philomena) that delivers laughs from both familiar and unexpected quarters, this is a fond, frequently very funny homage to an act that has lost none of its genius.” (Demetrios Matheou, Screen International)