What You Need To Know:
STAN & OLLIE is delightful, funny entertainment. Some real jeopardy leads to an emotional, uplifting payoff. Along the way, there are many funny and hilarious bits. The movie re-creates some of Laurel and Hardy’s most famous routines, both on and off the stage. One staged routine in a train depot is particularly hilarious. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are absolutely perfect as STAN & OLLIE. The movie has some slapstick comedy and a few light obscenities, but there’s no off-color humor.
STAN & OLLIE is a delightful, funny, touching tribute to the famous comedy team Laurel & Hardy, focusing on their last comedy tour in England when Oliver Hardy was having some serious health problems, which causes some friction between the two longtime friends. STAN & OLLIE is an emotional but very funny experience for moviegoers, especially for fans of the comedy duo who’ve seen and appreciate their movies.
The movie opens in 1937 with Stan and Oliver on set at the Hal Roach studios in Hollywood. They talk about a party where there will be some girls, including that “cute” little actress Myrna Loy. Meanwhile, Oliver’s marriage to his second wife, Myrtle, has ended in divorce, but Oliver seems interested in Roach’s new secretary, Lucille. Stan is upset, however, about the pay they’re getting from Hal Roach, but Oliver doesn’t want Stan to say anything because his own contract is up, and he needs the money to pay his alimony to Myrtle.
Cut to 15 years later in 1953 in Scotland, where Stan and Ollie are checking into a small hotel. After leaving Hal Roach in 1940, the boys spent five years with Fox making some B comedies, until ill health and mediocre box office forced them to stop. Now, they are trying to make a comeback by touring Great Britain and Ireland. Stan is even working on the script for a Robin Hood movie, which a London producer says he’s willing to finance. However, Oliver still isn’t in the best of health. Before they left the States, Oliver’s wife, Lucille, made Stan promise her that he’ll make sure Oliver takes his daily pill for his heart. When the boys reach London before going on to Ireland, their wives are expected to join them.
After fooling around with their luggage, the boys head to their small rooms. Stan’s upset with the rinky-dink hotels and the small venues where they’ll be playing. It was his understanding from their supercilious tour manager that the tour venues would be bigger. The manager seems to have done very little publicity for the tour, but he suggests to the boys that, if they agree to do some free, comical publicity stunts, more people will come.
With that problem settled, Stan has another problem. He’s having trouble getting hold of the London producer who promised to fund the Robin Hood comedy. Complicating matters is Oliver’s heart problem. The publicity stunts and a very public argument with Stan exacerbate the situation and threaten to halt the tour. To top it off, when the wives finally show up in London, it’s clear they really don’t get along with each other.
What a fine mess they’ve gotten themselves into. . .
STAN & OLLIE has some real jeopardy that leads to an emotional, uplifting payoff by the movie’s ending. Along the way, however, there are many funny and even hilarious bits. The movie re-creates some of their most famous routines, both on and off the stage. Also, one routine taking place in a train depot on the stage is particularly hilarious.
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are absolutely perfect as Stan and Ollie, respectfully. Reilly wears a seamless fat suit that looks so much like the real Oliver Hardy that you can’t really tell the difference. It’s like you’re watching the man himself.
STAN & OLLIE does contain some slapstick comedy and a few light obscenities, but there’s no off-color, or blue, humor. So, it’s actually a great movie for the entire family. You might want to watch a classic Laurel and Hardy movie before you go.
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