Wednesday, April 05, 2006

ALIEN AUTOPSY - sporadically funny, usually dull, British "comedy"

The ALIEN AUTOPSY of the title refers to the mythic footage that was supposedly taken at a US army base in the 1940s. The footage apparently shows army officials disecting an alien. Fast forward to 1995. A British chancer called Ray Santili allegedly uncovers this footage and sells it to the world's TV stations, where it is greeted with awe and then scepticism. Fast forward to 2006, and now, for your viewing pleasure, we have ALIEN AUTOPSY, the movie: a low budget British comedy about the infamous hoax.

I have to admit that this movie is far better than we had any right to expect given that it stars two British "entertainers" called "Ant and Dec" - self-styled cheeky Geordie chappies who have fashioned a career in Light Entertainment. True to their TV form, Ant and Dec inject a sort of low-key sporadic humour to the film - especially in the scenes where the hapless crew re-shoot the autopsy while the Gran passes round sausages on sticks. And, for all people forced to live in and around the 1970s horror that is the Barbican, there is a sustained joke at the expense of the Museum of London: surely the most ugly and pointless of London's tourist attractions. Lovely. But I just felt that a lot of great comic talent had been wasted. Why hire Jimmy Carr and Omid Djalili and then give them nothing to do? Whenever the movie strays out of Islington - to the house of a laughably bad Hungarian mafiosi, for instance - it becomes deathly dull. Worse still, Ant and Dec look hopelessly out-of-depth when sharing screen time with screen-legend Harry Dean Stanton. Stanton acts everybody else off the screen and spends most of his time looking like a deeply pissed-off refugee from a better movie. What possibly induced Harry Dean Stanton to appear in such mediocre fare?

ALIEN AUTOPSY goes on release in the UK on April 7th 2006.

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