To declare an interest, I have known Harry Hill since he was a medical student, wrote an amateur play with him and assisted on the 2001 pilot of TV Burp. Our professional paths diverged, but I relished his rise to small-screen super- stardom. In 2013, post-Burp, he attempted the silver-screen transfer and received his first critical mauling. The Harry Hill Movie’s surreal plot, which hinges around pet hamster Abu (an obvious puppet), transplants Harry from behind his desk to the actual streets of Blackpool, the underwater kingdom of the Shell People and evil twin Matt Lucas’s villainous lair. It’s gleefully daft, song- and slapstick-filled, and swollen with cameos (Jim Broadbent,Sheridan Smith, hairy folk quartet The Magic Numbers), while veteran TV comedy director Steve Bendelack relishes the wide open spaces. Honestly? It fell awkwardly between charming amateurism and strained cinematic ambition at the multiplex. But this will surely feel more at home where it belongs… er, at home, in your front room.
Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro and Barbra Streisand are among the returning stars in this third encounter with Hollywood’s most embarrassing family — and the dysfunction has now spread to three generations.