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practically dares straight teen boys to continue clinging to their obsessions with T&A and gore.Only in that sense might its depiction of three pubescent brahs-in-training learning to grow up and take responsibility—yes, by kicking zombie ass—prove a self-fulfilling prophecy.This intentional anachronism is as effective in its way as Iannucci’s decision in to cast hysterically incongruous people in the main roles, from a man-child cockney as the eponymous Russian despot to a boy from Brooklyn with the last name Buscemi as the power-hungry Khrushchev.
The oppressive fantasy that’s racism is elided and exploded, to the point that it draws that much more attention to Dickens’s timeless themes of class condescension and socioeconomic struggle.
The downside is that the degree to which those themes resonate vary from scene to scene and from character to character. The actor does, however, brilliantly deliver the film’s killer penultimate line about the fiscal potential of a writing career, a little bit of his merciless Malcolm Tucker from seeping through.
This brings us to Patel, whose considerable surface charms as David are nonetheless weakly one-note.
This doesn’t prove to be too much of a detriment, interestingly, since David is finally treated as more of a blank slate upon which Iannucci places his own obsessions with words and the creative process.
Dick (Hugh Laurie), perpetually burdened by thoughts of the decapitated King Charles I, and those spotlighting David’s flighty first beloved, Dora (Morfydd Clark), whose awful fate in the novel is literally rewritten on screen with equal parts absurdity and poignance.
A standout, unsurprisingly, is Ben Whishaw as the status-obsessed Uriah Heep, who starts out as a pure cartoon—sneaking about rooms in crouched, irritatingly quizzical fashion—but is later allowed to forcefully and cogently declaim his ire at anyone, our protagonist included, who would dare demean him for the hand he’s been dealt.Any other way you slice it, the flick is an artless, puerile shadow of the likes of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Cornetto trilogy, and exactly the sort of film that could help stave boys off from juvenilia.High school sophomore Ben (’s Tye Sheridan, eliding both the way of nature and the way of grace) is the agreeable center of his scouting troop, the common denominator between reckless-id Carter (Logan Miller) and eager-beaver Augie (Joey Morgan).It’s all more frantic than funny, tapping into Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi’s love of mealy carnage, but entirely lacking ’s worst.Cast: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman, Drew Droege, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Blake Anderson, Dillon Francis Director: Christopher B.They’re barely apparent in any sequence featuring Iannucci regular Peter Capaldi, who plays the creditor-hounded Mr. His grating stylings are often neutralized by the speed of the narrative (he feels like he’s barely in the film), and Capaldi in no way holds a candle to the best on-screen Micawber, played by the inimitable W. Also rushed is the tragic subplot involving Ham (Anthony Welsh), one of the quirky residents of a boat repurposed as an eccentric seaside home, and his not-so-devoted-as-she-seems fiancée, Emily (Aimée Kelly), which is unfortunate given its place as the film’s emotional climax.Much more in sync with the novel’s tempo and subtext are the scenes featuring Mr.David writes down his fragmented thoughts over the course of the film, many of them colorful descriptions of all the people he meets, all of which will eventually be collated and collected into the very tale we’re watching.It’s not hard to parallel David/Dickens’s head-spinningly intricate descriptors with Iannucci’s own prodding, poetically vulgar rhetoric.The song pauses, and after Cristi has been greeted by a henchman, he’s warned to turn off his likely tapped phone and enter a sun-dappled underworld.Cristi seems capable, but once “The Passenger” resumes, the song appears to be mocking him.