Starring:Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini
Writer(s): Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell
Original Score: N/A
Running Time:106 Mins.
Unfamiliar with The Thick of It, the British comedy series of which In The Loop is a spin off I entered the cinema somewhat cold. Knowing it was a political comedy based around the middle men of the government is really all you need know, comedy films, quite frankly, do not get more quintessentially British.
Currently caught up in a whilrwind of ‘clever’ comedy British television is inundated with comedy series, like The Thick of It, which purport to be both clever, sweary and ever so slightly quirky, these for me are not neccessarily good qualities and often an attempt at cleverness in comedy comes off as resoundingly smug, something which In The Loop seems to pride itself on. Swearing as we all know can be very funny, and depending upon whose mouth and which manner it is used can be seen as vulgar, filthy, puerile or in the case of In The Loop, clever, or not from my perspective.
Peter Capaldi is Malcolm Tucker, foul mouthed spin-doctor allegedly based upon Alistair Campbell. Capaldi swears his way through the film, abusing everybody he encounters, this for me is neither clever nor funny. Politics are all too easy a target for comedy and attempts this lame really don’t deserve the plaudits piled upon them. Aside from Capaldi, Gandolfini turns in yet another of his over-bearing characters, doing very little whilst acting as the American counterpart to Capaldi in the abuse stakes it is in characters like these I failed to see the attraction to In The Loop.
Yet pulling back some good faith is Tom Hollander, often lumbered with underwhelming villainous roles Hollander is the standout here, playing the bumbling minister who never seems able to say the right thing (allegedly based in part upon a young Blair) he brings a not only a number of awkward laughs and some classic line “climb the mountain of peace” but also injects some likeablilty into a cast chock full of some of the most unlikeable people ever seen onscreen. There is the point that maybe they are ‘supposed’ to be unlikeable but it really doesn’t make for an enjoyable film.
Split between time in London and time in Washington, In The Loop only ever makes any kind of impression in it’s London setting, as I struggle to remember any of what occurs in Washington it would suggest that it was bioth pointless and boring, surely the harshest statement you can level at a comedy.
Trying to be clever and only succeeding in being boring, seemingly the hallmark of many a UK comedy series seeps onto the big screen, only Tom Hollander’s warm and funny turn make In The Loop worth sitting through, not even the swearing Brit can save this one.