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Churchill: The Hollywood Years

Brit spoofmeister Peter Richardson's rep goes down with all hands in "Churchill: The Hollywood Years." Following re-shoots and re-edits, this attempt to send up Tinseltown historical revisionism emerges as a chaotic, mildly funny romp that's a cross between a weak Zucker Bros. movie and a Carry On.

Cast:
With: Christian Slater, Neve Campbell, Leslie Phillips, Miranda Richardson, Anthony Sher, Romany Malco, Harry Enfield, Rik Mayall, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Phil Cornwell, Jessica Oyelowo, Steve Pemberton, Steven O'Donnell, James Dreyfus, Mackenzie Crook, Sally Phillips, Jon Culshaw.

Brit spoofmeister Peter Richardson’s rep (“Stella Street”) goes down with all hands in “Churchill: The Hollywood Years.” Following re-shoots and re-edits, this attempt to send up Tinseltown historical revisionism emerges as a chaotic, mildly funny romp that’s a cross between a weak Zucker Bros. movie and a Carry On. Stuffed with British alternative comics, and toplined by Christian Slater and Neve Campbell, this looks destined for cult status on ancillary, where it’s rapidly headed.

Central idea — never coherently explained — is that the Winston Churchill of legend was a character actor called Roy Bubbles, while the real Churchill was actually a gung-ho American GI (Slater, energetic). Between exposing a dastardly plan by English traitor Lord W’ruff (vet Leslie Phillips) to secretly invite over Hitler (Anthony Sher), Eva Braun (Miranda Richardson) and Bormann (Phil Cornwell), stogey-chewing Lt. Churchill also falls for future Queen Elizabeth II (Campbell, fruity), who’s posing as a commoner. Padded out with (DV-lensed) modern bookends featuring Tony Blair (Jon Culshaw), outtakes and a leisurely final crawl, pic just about scrapes 84 minutes. Harry Enfield steals the show as a bumbling King George V; tech package is average.

Churchill: The Hollywood Years

U.K.

Production: A Pathe release of a Pathe Pictures, Sky Movies presentation, in association with the U.K. Film Council and Isle of Man Film, of a Little Bird Prods. production, in association with Inside Track and Absolutely Prods. (International sales: Pathe Intl., London.) Produced by Jonathan Cavendish. Executive producers, James Mitchell, Francois Ivernel, Cameron McCracken, Steve Christian, Duncan Reid. Co-producer, Dixie Linder. Directed by Peter Richardson. Screenplay, Richardson, Pete Richens; additional dialogue, Harry Enfield, Phil Cornwell, Rik Mayall, John Sessions.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe London prints), Cinders Forshaw, Mike Robinson; editors, Geoff Hogg, John Wilson; music, Simon Boswell; production designer, Tom Burton; costume designer, James Keast. Reviewed at Vue West End 9, London, Dec. 3, 2004. Running time: 84 MIN.

With: With: Christian Slater, Neve Campbell, Leslie Phillips, Miranda Richardson, Anthony Sher, Romany Malco, Harry Enfield, Rik Mayall, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Phil Cornwell, Jessica Oyelowo, Steve Pemberton, Steven O'Donnell, James Dreyfus, Mackenzie Crook, Sally Phillips, Jon Culshaw.

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