Guest House Paradiso (15)
THERE is something desperately amiss about this full-blown, over-indulgent, self-absorbed slice of puerile juvenilia which seems to point to creators Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall as being utterly out of step.
Both emerged as products of the so-called ‘alternative comedy’ wave of the early 1980s, when ranting about Mrs Thatcher and the Conservatives was de rigeur.
But in the years since even self-proclaimed agitators Ben Elton and Alexei Sayle have gone mainstream; only Edmondson and Mayall have clung to their past.
Guesthouse Paradiso is a throwback to the humour they employed on seminal shows like The Young Ones, but it is a perfect example of how their humour has not moved on one iota.
The jokes, setpiece stunts, comic violence and profanity are firmly rooted in the antics of Rik, Vyvyan, Neil and Mike in The Young Ones. Retro is one thing but laziness is a different animal, and one which such talented comics should not seek to breed.
Guest House Paradiso takes Edmondson and Mayall, in their familiar guises of Eddie and Richie, to Britain’s worst hotel. As proprietors, they wage war on their hapless guests, while systematically hammering each other to bits.
The plot (!?) is built on a series of flimsy gags and comic routines which, in essence, involves one or the other hitting his partner with whatever comes to hand: saucepans, hammers, fridge doors.
Mayall’s character is a cross-dressing voyeur, Edmondson’s a drunk whose idea of packing is to cram his suitcase full of booze.
It’s hardly Laurel and Hardy and, to be frank, not even close to Little and Large. This lame excuse for a comedy hinges instead on its audience’s acceptance of jokes built totally on urine, vomit, flatulence and violence. And it’s awful.
Perhaps one per cent of Guesthouse Paradiso is actually funny; the rest is laboured, OTT and, yes, boring claptrap. There is no finesse, no attempt at subtlety. Instead it erupts like a cannon, firing what passes as jokes in a bang-bang-bang style. This is in-your-face comedy at its worst.
The jokes which do work are rare, and sometimes cruel: a child on a swing which whizzes out over a sea cliff; a fishing rod hook connected to a man’s nipple ring; Edmondson sleeping on a motorcycle as it meanders along country lanes.
They are inspired moments of lunacy which offer a glimpse into what Edmondson and Mayall could do if they tried.
Instead, Guesthouse Paradiso is surely the nadir of the careers of all of those involved.