Starring: Toby Jones, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bill Nighy
Director: Oliver Parker
Running Time: 100 mins
Dad’s Army is a British film about the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard during the Second World War, a team of clumsy military wannabes who finally get a chance to play a part in the war: by rooting out a spy detected in their area.
Everybody loves the original Dad’s Army TV show; it’s an absolute classic of British comedy, but this big screen adaptation is so far from the programme we all love. With next to no good laughs, surprisingly poor performances from such a high-profile cast, and a completely inactive narrative, there wasn’t really anything that made me care about Dad’s Army.
It’s not a painfully dull watch, however. If you like the show, you can get some pleasure out of the many throwbacks in the movie. Meanwhile, it’s a pretty nice film. As you’d expect, nothing bad really happens, it’s all just silly, and so it’s a completely harmless movie in the end that might entertain you a bit, but only if you really turn your brain off.
For the most part, though, this is a big disappointment. The most frustrating thing about the film is that it’s just not funny. I expected this film to be as silly and lightweight as it was, but I didn’t expect the jokes to be so bland and dumb.
Part of the charm of the original show was that its comedy was a combination of slapstick and clever wordplay, as well as hilarious relationships between the various zany characters. However, in the film, you get none of that, and with such predictable comedy at every moment, there’s really no reason to laugh at anything.
My entire screening, most of which was composed of the target audience of the film (i.e. older viewers who watched the show in the 60s and 70s), was pretty much silent throughout, which shows clearly that this just isn’t a funny film.
Another thing that really surprised me was how poor the performances were. Of course, having such bad writing doesn’t help that in any way, but better acting could have injected just a little more life into the film.
Toby Jones is okay as Captain Mainwaring, and the rest of the big name cast is just sort of there. Again, nothing to really hate on, but nothing to rave about either.
What shocked me most was how surprisingly awful Catherine Zeta-Jones’ performance was. Now, Zeta-Jones is a top actress, and I can only imagine that poor direction and the bad script contributed to her pretty dire performance, but still, the way she meanders in and out of shot doing a pseudo-femme fatale sort of thing with really wooden line delivery just doesn’t work, so watching her really annoyed me as the film went on.
It’s not all bad, however. I do have to say that the final fifteen minutes of the movie, where we get a dose of action and excitement, wasn’t half bad. It wasn’t hugely funny or entertaining, but it was the level of fun and silliness that the rest of this film should have had.
Overall, Dad’s Army is a disappointment. Throughout, it feels incredibly stale, thanks to awfully dumb humour and poor acting, and although it may end on a bit of a high, I wouldn’t recommend you go and see it, so I’ll give it a 6.0.