×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Staggered

An oddball comedy about a mild-mannered geek who's shafted by his best friend on his stag night, "Staggered" is a likable Brit item that's average multiplex fodder. Good-looking but unevenly paced low-budgeter lacks the smarts to travel very far beyond home base but should tick over in ancillary.

With:
Neil Price - Martin Clunes Gary - Michael Praed Carmen - Anna Chancellor Margaret - Sylvia Syms Graham - Griff Rhys Jones Flora - Virginia McKenna Hilary - Sarah Winman Sarah's Father - Michael Medwin

An oddball comedy about a mild-mannered geek who’s shafted by his best friend on his stag night, “Staggered” is a likable Brit item that’s average multiplex fodder. Good-looking but unevenly paced low-budgeter lacks the smarts to travel very far beyond home base but should tick over in ancillary.

Pic is first feature outing of TV comedy writer Paul Alexander and Simon Braithwaite, brother of producer Philippa and former ad sales manager of Brit movie mag Empire. Sitcom-style humor, peopled by a large gallery of British eccentrics, produces a steady flow of mild gags but doesn’t build a proper head of steam to go the distance as a feature.

TV comic Martin Clunes (who also helms, after experience in legit directing) stars as toy demonstrator Neil, due to marry pretty, middle-class Hilary (Sarah Winman). At his stag party, supposed best friend Gary (Michael Praed) slips a mickey in his beer, and next day Neil wakes up on a remote Scottish beach wearing only his watch.

Bulk of the pic consists of Neil’s efforts to get back to London in the three days before his nuptials, while Gary, who arranged the whole diversion, insinuates himself into the favor of Hilary and her snooty mom (the reliable Sylvia Syms) to get his hands on the bride’s money.

Characters encountered on the way include a Scottish recluse (a winning Virginia McKenna) who only wants to know whether Andy Williams is still alive; a traveling Welsh salesman, Graham (Griff Rhys Jones, working overtime), who’s into suburban S&M sessions; and an apocalyptic medical researcher, Carmen (Anna Chancellor), who curiously proves Neil’s salvation. En route, he also fractures his arm, gets arrested for jewel fencing and provokes a small amount of mayhem.

Though the episodic pic starts well, as a kind of accident-prone reverse road movie, it starts to run out of gas midway as the journey idea is dropped in favor of Neil’s developing relationship with Carmen, and to focus on a cop (John Forgeham) who’s permanently on Clunes’ case. An outrageous dream sequence, in which Carmen performs an autopsy on the still-conscious Neil, sits strangely here.

Best of the supporting cast is Chancellor, as the psychologist with more dark currents than a buttered bun.

The vacant-looking Clunes (one of the stars of the BBC sitcom “Men Behaving Badly”) is OK in the central role, though light on big-screen presence. As director, he’s hit-and-miss, dropping the ball completely in some sequences (the revelation of Graham’s secret; the weak finale) but scoring in others, especially in the early going.

Simon Kossoff’s generally smart lensing is an asset throughout. More music by Peter Brewis would have helped to nudge things along.

Staggered

British

Production: An Entertainment Film Distributors release (U.K.) of a Big Deal Pictures production. Produced by Philippa Braithwaite. Executive producers, Chris Parkinson, Clifford Davis. Line producer, Helen Booth. Directed by Martin Clunes. Screenplay, Paul Alexander, Simon Braithwaite.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor), Simon Kossoff; editor, Peter Delfgou; music, Peter Brewis; production design, Iain Andrews; art direction, Steve Ritchie; costume design, Ralph Holes; sound (Dolby), Geoff Neate; associate producers, Alexander, Braithwaite; assistant director, Richard Lingard. Reviewed at MGM Trocadero 2, London, July 12, 1994. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Neil Price - Martin Clunes Gary - Michael Praed Carmen - Anna Chancellor Margaret - Sylvia Syms Graham - Griff Rhys Jones Flora - Virginia McKenna Hilary - Sarah Winman Sarah's Father - Michael Medwin

More Film

  • Rosie Day, Harriet Sanson Harris, Natalia

    Rosie Day, Harriet Sanson Harris, Natalia Tena Set For Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s Thriller ‘Baby’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES– Rosie Day (“Outlander”), Harriet Sanson Harris (“Phantom Thread”) and Natalia Tena (“Game of Thrones”) will star in Spaniard Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s psychological thriller “Baby,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project will be pitched on May 19 at Fantastic 7, a new Cannes initiative seeing seven of the world’s most prestigious fantastic festivals back and [...]

  • Polish Fest’s Industry Event Presents Upcoming

    New Horizons’ Polish Days Goes to Cannes With Five Films in Progress

    CANNES  —  Buoyed by a wave of international successes, including Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2019 foreign-language Oscar nominee “Cold War,” Polish cinema will get a fitting showcase Sunday morning with the presentation of five new projects at New Horizons’ Polish Days Goes to Cannes. Organized in conjunction with the Polish Film Institute, Polish Days is the most important [...]

  • Cannes, Annecy Animation Day Hosts ‘Bob

    Coala to Pitch ‘Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People’ at Cannes, Annecy Animation Day

    São Paulo-based Coala Filmes impressed in the series competition at last year’s Annecy Intl. Film Festival with an episode of their popular stop-motion series “Angeli the Killer,” based on the famous comics of the Brazilian comic-book writer of the same name. This year, the film’s director Cesar Cabral and producer Ivan Melo are participating in [...]

  • Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 Million

    Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 Million Film Fund Launches

    CANNES  —  Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 million private film fund Kinoprime is ready for business, the fund’s CEO, Anton Malyshev, said in Cannes this week. Financed to the tune of $100 million over the next three years, the fund can provide up to 50% of a film’s production budget, with a $2 million cap [...]

  • Russian Helmer of Blockbuster ‘Stalingrad’ Looks

    Russia’s Fedor Bondarchuk Unveils Four New Films in Cannes

    CANNES  —  Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk introduced four new productions from his Art Pictures Studio Saturday in Cannes, including “Attraction 2,” the sequel to his 2017 sci-fi blockbuster. The invitation-only showcase at the Gray d’Albion hotel also unveiled footage from three new features that Bondarchuk is either directing or producing. Sci-fi thriller “Sputnik” is the story [...]

  • "The Whistlers" Review: The Romanian New

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Whistlers'

    With all due respect to Lauren Bacall, there’s always been a bit more to whistling than putting your lips together and blowing. Certainly for Cristi (Vlad Ivanov), the corrupt Bucharest policeman embroiled in a comically complex plot to get a local gangster off the hook in Corneliu Porumboiu’s Cannes competition title “The Whistlers,” it is [...]

  • 'Vivarium' Review: Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen

    Cannes Film Review: 'Vivarium'

    Ah, the suburbs. The rec rooms and Formica kitchens and manicured lawns. The cozy suffocating middle-class conformity. The way they once stood for everything that was worth rebelling against. For decades, the suburbs have been the ultimate cheap-shot movie punchline — not just a location but a state of mind, a place to thumb our [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content