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The Favour Watch And The Very Big Fish Review

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Louis, a Parisian photographer meets Sybil (Richardson) when he agrees to stand in for his actor pal at a dubbing of a porn film. Cue "amusing" explosive stereo pleasure noises and the beginning of lurve. Within minutes Sybil is blubbing on Louis' sympathetic shoulder. It's a tiresome and complicated story involving a mad violinist,a double-mad pianist (Goldblum), tediously voyeuristic shots of Richardson's legs and, yup, The Watch.

★★★★

Mildly intriguing title, death-defyingly dull film. Bob Hoskins squanders his undeniable talent (yet again - who is his agent?) on the uninspiring Louis, a Parisian photographer of religious tableaux (heaven-gazing John The Baptists, blubbing Christs, various sheep, goats, mangers etc). He meets Sybil (Richardson) when he agrees to The Favour: to stand in for his actor pal at a dubbing of a porn film. Cue "amusing" explosive stereo pleasure noises and the beginning of lurve. Within minutes Sybil is blubbing (with difficulty: she's a tall lass) on Louis' sympathetic shoulder. It's a tiresome and complicated story involving a mad violinist,a double-mad pianist (Goldblum), tediously voyeuristic shots of Richardson's legs and, yup, The Watch.

There's a sick grandpa in there too, and poor mug Louis ends up couching up thousands to get Sybil out of her predicament. His efforts are unsuccessful and he finds himself embroiled in a series of unbelievable coincidences and mistakes which flop in limp succession across the screen and into the bin marked "pointless".

With a stronger script and firmer plotting, The Favour could have pulled off its attempt at light-hearted farce, but too many loose ends are left a-flap for satisfying viewing and, frankly, it isn't funny at all. The acting too, is weak: Hoskins and Goldblum sleep-talking throughout while Richardson's Sybil becomes (unbelievably) more teeth-grindingly irritating as the film progresses. And The Very Big Fish is almost surreally irrelevant, introduced only to be fed into the next scene's food processor - surely the most bizarrely carnivorous way to create a film title ever witnessed.

Mildly intriguing title, death-defyingly dull film.