Posted by: Dr P | March 11, 2009

In the Loop

If you only see one socio-politicial comedy this Spring, make sure it’s “In the Loop”, the big screen adaptation of popular comedy “The Thick of It”. UK cabinet minister and British Secretary of State for International Development Simon Foster accidentally gives a soundbite in support of war in the Middle East, and suddenly finds himself in the midst of an Anglo-American political rollercoaster towards a “foreseeable” conflict. The pro-war voices of foul-mouthed British PM aide Malcolm Tucker and the US president find themselves in a battle with retired US General Miller and various high-flying Washington voices.

The bumbling Minister and his young aide Toby are hurriedly despatched to Washington to try and sort out the mess, but the minister’s own inability to avoid making fatuous public comments only gets him deeper into trouble. Toby sleeps with a governmental aide who has the ear of another anti-war campaigner, but this actually makes things worse. The various factions then try and seek a resolution from the UN security council to either go to, or prevent, war, and it all ends in chaos. And meanwhile, there’s an angry constituent back in Northampton complaining about the imminent collapse of his mother’s garden wall …

In my view, this is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in many a long year, and I had to stuff a hand down my throat whilst being prodded from both sides at one point – whilst this might sound like a great deal of fun in the privacy of your own living room, when you’re in a busy cinema and people are staring at your hysterical laughter-crying, it’s actually even funnier. My word, did I laugh. I am still quite sore now, 2 days later.

The characterisation of the bumbling Foster and the foul-mouthed PM spokesman Malcolm Tucker are works of genius. Tucker, in particular, steals many of the movie’s scenes with his ranting and raving. He is Mr Angry personified – and when it is later revealed he has a younger, even angrier assistant, things only get funnier. The film is foul mouthed and rude in the extreme, but don’t let that distract you – one scene in which Tucker is reprimanded publicly by a man on the street in Washington for swearing on his mobile phone is hysterical – the abuse Tucker unleashes made me howl.

Big G and Vic also found this extremely funny – although they were perhaps more amused by my own inability to stop snorting, guffawing and laughing manically every 2 minutes. I will definitely be seeing this again.

If your view of Washington’s political climate is shaped by the wonderful “West Wing”, then this will give you a completely opposing view – it’s almost like West Wing meets The Office, with a whole host of embarrassingly slimy characters to get your teeth into. Oh and then there’s Anna Chlumsky, who I spent the entire film wondering where I’d seen her .. and then embarrassingly realised it was in “My Girl” đŸ˜‰

if you want a flavour of the film, check out the clips below. Warning – they’re very rude!

Toby and Malcolm Tucker collide

The Crossest Man in Scotland (wait for the “Butch and Gaydance” line)


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