When Agnes Brown's market stall, a long-held family tradition, is threatened by a group of property developers in league with Russian thugs, she swings into action.
One of the four horsemen of the cinematic apocalypse, along with Keith Lemon The Film, Postman Pat: The Movie and The Harry Hill Movie, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie is the big-screen version of Brendan O’Carroll’s phenomenally successful BBC sitcom, so much so it’s essentially a straight transfer of that show’s formula. So expect jokes that aren’t just on the nose, they are the nose; expect the ever-committed O’Carroll (who wrote the screenplay and stars as the eponymous haughty Dublin matriarch) to mug and goof around and break the fourth wall; expect an avalanche of schoolboy-level rudeness; cloying, cynical, redemptive sentiment to sugar the sourness; and a litany of dreadful, hastily sketched Irish stere o’types.
If the TV show itself leaves you cold, move along, there’s nothing here for you. At times almost avant-garde in its commitment to unfunny, it’s shambolically performed by the majority of its cast, some of whom are so bad you can imagine them getting a treat after each successful negotiation of a line or a prop, and shot and edited in a fashion so slapdash it seems like a movie made almost entirely by competition winners.
An early attempt to open the film out from the show’s stage-bound identity, in the form of the least enthusiastic musical number in the history of movies, fails badly. Action scenes, a natural result of the desire to broaden the scope, are flat and amateurish. And any jokes that are even vaguely clever - Mrs Brown jumps into the Liffey and emerges bone-dry; she’s told to dress up as a man, and O’Carroll casts a wry glance at the camera - are pounded into the ground until any cleverness is beaten out of them. There’s no energy, no vim, no vigour - the pace is off from the beginning, almost as if O’Carroll and director Ben Kellett forgot to trim the pauses sitcom actors normally leave for the laughter.
In fact, in its wholehearted commitment to jokes so bad you can almost hear the snap of the Christmas cracker opening before they’re read out, along with the various scenes of cast members corpsing at its star’s antics, or an extraordinarily self-aggrandising screenplay that frequently pauses the plot so characters can tell Mrs Brown - who is actually a truly dreadful human being; venal, vulgar and vituperative - how great she is, it’s nothing less than the Irish equivalent of The Love Guru.
Nowhere is this demonstrated more than in O’Carroll’s frankly baffling decision to go full Mike Myers and play two roles, turning up as the Chinese head of a school for blind ninja (a discipline which is, of course, Japanese) with the sort of pinched eyes and full-on Mickey Rooney-in-Breakfast At Tiffany’s accent that has to be - has to be - an ironic comment on white guys who play Chinese characters with pinched eyes and full-on Mickey Rooney-in-Breakfast At Tiffany’s accents. But before you get the wrong idea, at the very end there’s an impassioned and deeply cynical speech about how Dublin life has been enriched by immigrants over the years. So that’s alright, then.
Naturally, it made almost as much in its opening weekend as Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa did in its entire run. If the hills aren’t already filled with people hiding out after Keith Lemon, Harry Hill and Postman Pat, start running for them now.