THE opening credits began with Universal’s logo, never a comfortable start for any aspiring film. Then up popped the logo of the BBC, which has made scads of good movies. Could that presage a mote of salvation, I wondered, for the quality of a film that, from pre-release publicity, promised little? There wasn’t. It wasn’t even that good.
The concept, the brainchild of writer/director/female-impersonator star Brendan O’Carroll, is popular on British TV. As if SBS’s dumb rude TV series “Housos” weren’t enough, Channel 7 has broadcast it in Australia. Earlier this year, a stage version of Mrs Brown’s antics toured Australia.
The tax-man says Agnes Brown owes four million pounds. Ruthless Russian investors and a venal developer want to exploit the Dublin F&V Market site where three generations of Agnes’s family have had a stall. Can students at the Blind Ninja training college break into the National Records office to get the tax receipt copy Agnes swears (something she does copiously during the film) will prove she’s paid? What justice can she expect from a drunken judge hearing argument from her lawyer suffering from Tourette’s syndrome?
A market opening-time dance routine by troupe of pram-pushing overweight stall-holders closes the film’s prologue and later there’s an interlude of Irish dancing. These work because they don’t try to provoke laughter. The rest tries unsuccessfully. The concept hasn’t got the legs to carry it more than half an hour of TV sitcom time.
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