movie film review | chris tookey
death by raspberry
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  Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004)

Grimly unfunny film about two sex-mad Brummies.

Youíd probably have more fun and laughs by going into your kitchen and just staring at an ordinary potato.
(Kevin OíSullivan, Mirror)
Itís hard to know what to say to this - itís like finding the right words at a nasty accident... Less a film than an appetite suppressant.
(Catherine Shoard, Sunday Telegraph)
About as funny as being stabbed repeatedly in the face with a bread knife... How on earth Humphries managed to convince such an impressive cast to take part in his truly awful film should go down as one of the biggest mysteries in Brit flick history. The guy must have had one Helluva lot of favours to call in. Either that or a remarkable array of incriminating photographs.
(Gary Panton, Movie Gazette)
Sex Lives of the Potato Men is billed as an "erotic, testosterone-charged comedy" about a pair of Brummie yobs called Dave and Ferris, who are according to the publicity notes "two good-looking young blokes living by their own rules". The truth is that they live by no rules discernible to the naked eye, and one of these "good-looking blokes" is played by arguably the ugliest, most obese and least sexy comedian in Britain, Johnny Vegas.
Never before have I knowingly recommended a film with no redeeming factor whatsoever, but here goes. I honestly believe that every existing or aspiring politician, religious or spiritual leader in Britain - and, indeed, anyone with a serious interest in what is happening to the culture of our country - should see this movie.
Watch it all the way through its 82 miserable minutes, and I guarantee you'll be shaking your head and asking "Have we really descended to this?" Yes, we have. If ever a movie testified to the utter cynicism, tastelessness and moral corruption of those who commission and make British movies, it is this abomination.
First-time writer-director Andy Humphries' film is no isolated example, but it is the most shamefully inept, witless and repulsive British comedy I have ever had the misfortune to see. And yes, I do remember Guest House Paradiso.
Johnny Vegas starred in one of the most wretched comedies of 2003, Blackball, but that was a masterpiece of subtlety compared to this. This sex comedy is so sordid, unfunny and malodorous, it makes Confessions of a Window Cleaner look like The Importance of Being Earnest. Aimed squarely at oafs with unwashed underwear, filthy minds and knuckles that graze the pavement when they walk, it is enough to put sensitive viewers off sex and films for life.
Vegas's equally unfunny sidekick is Mackenzie Crook from The Office, who is meant to be God's gift to women, but exhibits slightly less erotic appeal than road kill. Both men play mindlessly aggressive, sex-obsessed slobs, and their two fellow workers at a potato distribution depot (Mark Gatiss and Dominic Coleman) are even creepier - voyeurs, perverts, stalkers, sociopaths. The film is a merely a catalogue of their sexual adventures, every one of them too mean, cruel and offensive to be describable in a family newspaper.
The sex here is disgusting to the eye and mind, demeaning to actors and audience alike - and not even faintly amusing. There are copious lashings of sado-masochism, fetishism and self-abuse, and pervading the whole thing a joyless, debased view of human relationships that might make the most priapic Club 18 to 30 Rep contemplate a life of monastic celibacy.
There are numerous sights here that I shall, unfortunately, carry with me to the grave. Among the few describable low points is a scene where Vegas tells a small boy that his dad is dead and his mum in a coma, followed by a hospital scene where Vegas ogles and rummages around in the comatose mother's cleavage in front of the child. The rest of it is far, far nastier.
I imagine that this film was meant to shock, and shock it certainly does. I'm bewildered, appalled and angry that anyone allowed this puerile idiocy to become such an abominable waste of time and celluloid.
For sheer gross-out pointlessness, there has been nothing to match this since Tom Green's contemptible Freddy Got Fingered. Though the makers of Potato Men will doubtless claim that their approach to their heroes is post-modernist and ironic, it's noticeable that their advertising campaign is aimed not at sophisticates, but at the ever-spreading bottom of the market.
It's been designed to appeal to the sort of people who might actually see these characters as role models. And if this really does reflect, or influence, how sex is regarded by the lumpen proletariat in 21st centur
Moves along at the pace of a water-logged rat negotiating a paddy-field.
(David Quinlan, TV Times Movie Guide)
Makes you long for something lighter and wittier such as a documentary on the Khmer Rouge.
(Simon Rose)

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