Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Withnail and I (1987) ****

“Withnail and I” is sort of a British “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” It’s the story of a couple of absolute reprobates drinking and drugging away their youths in a filthy London flat. Having dirtied every single dish in the house, and faced with the possible and unsurprising presence of vermin in the kitchen, the two decide that a vacation is in order. They secure the use of a country house from Withnail’s uncle Monty and embark on a hilarious weekend in which they display their complete unsuitability to exist anywhere outside of the city. Dealing with a wood stove, cooking for themselves, and negotiating muddy trails is entirely outside of their skill set, and the pair are saved only by the appearance of Withnail’s uncle.

It is never clear whether Withnail and Marwood are gay, but Monty certainly is, and the dirty old man takes an aggressive shine to Marwood. His advances border on the criminal, and the boys are ultimately forced to retreat back to the city.

I’ve been seeing a lot of British stuff lately, and “Withnail and I” may be the Britishest. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but I found it hilarious. Withnail (Richard E. Grant) is the most incorrigible character, completely oblivious to consequences, and always full of good/bad ideas. Owing to the English accents, the dialogue can be hard to follow, but even if you only catch half of what is said, it’s still twice as funny as most of what is out there. I highly recommend checking it out.

4 stars out of 5

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