Stan & Ollie
review by Bobby Blakey
There are only a handful of comedic duos that have reached iconic status with Laurel and Hardy being easily at the top of the list. Their comedy has stood the test of time, and now part of their history is coming to the big screen with the new film Stan and Ollie starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, but does it do the famed duos legacy justice or will it just be another fine mess to get viewers into?
Stan and Ollie follows the true story of Hollywood’s greatest comedy double act, Laurel and Hardy with their golden era long behind them, as the pair embark on a variety hall tour of Britain and Ireland. Despite the pressures of a hectic schedule, and with the support of their wives Lucille and Ida – a formidable double act in their own right - the pair’s love of performing, as well as for each other, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their adoring public. While I was a bit bummed that this wasn’t going to be the full story of their rise in fame and career it was evident that this was most likely the more interesting of their history.
I have been stoked to see this movie since the first image debuted and I am so happy to say it was worth the wait. This is the kind of film that doesn’t work if you don’t believe the leads and both Reilly and Coogan are insanely great. Seeing them bounce in and out of the real life and on screen personas of these two icons is pure perfection. There are so many times that you forget that this isn’t actually Laruel and Hardy on screen. Reilly’s make-up alone is amazing and never looks anything but authentic. Where things work even better is the chemistry between these two great actors. At this point in the careers of Laurel and Ollie they have some tensions and this love hate relationship comes across great while showing a true friendship that struggled but stood the test of time.
For hardcore fans of the duo know you won’t be getting any peeks into the development of their on screen personas but instead a portrait of the men. Have no fear as there are plenty of their classic bits recreated on stage during this tour as well as some classic moments to kick things off. I loved this movie even more than I thought I might and this is all thanks to the brilliant portrayal of Reilly and Coogan. It would be amazing to see them go back and do another film focusing on the earlier years and bring these two guys back for more fun, but this one still gives me everything I could have wanted.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including deleted scenes, Q&A and featurettes showcasing bringing the iconic dup to life for this film. Get into another fine mess with Stan & Ollie available now on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.