Guest House Paradiso Film Details
Overview: Richie and Eddie, a perverted loser and his alcoholic partner in crime, run the worst hotel in Britain: the Guest House Paradiso.
Tagline: Pay to check in… pray to check out!
Review: “Guest House Paradiso” manages to capture some of the appeal of the BBC comedy show “Bottom”. That is maybe more than I expected to be able to say – this film’s reputation is beyond awful. But equally I can say that it fails to replicate the appeal of the TV series; a practically budget-less, archetypal British sitcom. Of course one with absurdly cartoonish violence – as replicated in one maniacally daft extended sequence here – and a general lack of subtlety, although at times in the early series’ you have substantial allusions to Beckett. There are good jokes here, and a general grasp of comedy, but the desperation is truly what is missing from the TV series; the quite melancholic edge of the TV series is lost. Instantly, the echoing of “Fawlty Towers” seems a mistaken step; it has no chance of echoing that small screen triumph of acting and scripting. The familiarity of the setting allows some obvious comic opportunities to come from it, and indeed there are laughs. But really, it seems Ade and Rik settle for too little, when they could have perhaps taken “Bottom” in an interesting big screen direction. The comic playing is steady, but really minor fare aside from the regulars; or leads, considering this is a film. The desperation, as I said, does not truly register as much in the characters as in the TV show: Richie is Fawlty-fied to some extent and loses much of his social pretension and often just becomes an unpleasant, absurd man; Eddie is pretty much the absurd, resigned, would-be ‘hardman’ he was in the TV series, if not drawn in as much depth. To be fair, Mayall and Edmondson are amusing; they cannot fail but be that. I’ve long liked their work, as a broad, if also very sophisticated comic pairing. But there is nothing new to the characters or anything truly to match the depth gone into in the three TV series’ – which often were practically two-handers of inspired banality and cracked civility. Just one minor but telling pointer on this film’s failure; the characters’ admittedly jokey original surnames are changed – from Richard ‘Richie’ Richard to Richie Twat – cue unsubtle, old pronunciation jokes – and Edward ‘Eddie’ Elizabeth Hitler to Eddie Elizabeth Ndingombaba – why? This is a nutshell of the film’s lack of a canny instinct in translating “Bottom” to film. Yes, there are fine moments here; Richie’s dream – the promise of the ‘nymphs’ turning to a drenching in cider and absurdly maniacal Eddie laughter; “Ha ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-*HA*!” The absurd laugh that Richie does when a would-be guest says, “This place is like the Mary Celeste”… Mayall and Edmondson do their business very well on such bits, being very able, seasoned comic performers. Also, Eddie’s getting those child guests drunk and taking them to play on a swing that is going over a cliff; very good. Such parts as these are very “Bottom”, others – the wince-worthy Simon Pegg nipple lifting, the unstable Italian husband of Helene Mathieu – are really not worth commenting on. I like the ending a little, with Eddie’s tortured decision over whether to exchange his suitcase, jammed full with booze, for a new identity, money and passport. “Oh… all *right*…!” 😉 And then a song by the ever-glorious Bonzo Dog Band playing out over the credits. But the whole end section of toxic extrusion is very tenuously linked in. Fairly spectacular in a goofball, ‘gross’ fashion, but it really isn’t character or dialogue comedy, as “Bottom” should largely be. Basically, a poor film, watchable certainly, but sadly irrelevant next to the TV “Bottom”. It revels in ‘gross out’, unsophisticated comedy of the most shameless kind, without enough real context. This is not always bad, and the film sporadically entertains, but really there is far too little… far too little of that great feeling one got when watching the TV series; a beast possessed of wonderfully crude humour and sodden anguish at life. Rating:- **/*****
Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 89 min
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
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