Puckoon

Adaptation of Spike Milligan's cult 1963 novel

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OPENS APRIL 4, CERT PG, 82 MINS

When the 1924 Boundary Commission and the Irish Free State agree the dividing line in Ireland, border posts and barbed wire are erected in the village of Puckoon, running through the middle of hen coops and even the pub, the Royal Drunkard.

Featuring a string of disjointed, farcical episodes and a prestige cast including Milo O’Shea and Elliott Gould, Puckoon matches the fractured absurdity of the situation the community finds itself in. Sean Hughes stars as the hapless Madigan, who spends most of his time quarrelling with Richard Attenborough’s all-powerful narrator over the direction of the tale, a joke stolen from an old Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck cartoon.

Overloaded with tiresome Paddywhackery, riddled with woefully telegraphed slapstick, crammed with stereotypes like Griff Rhys-Jones’ harrumphing Army officer, Puckoon ought to prompt a review of Spike Milligan’s reputation. Stylistically, he did indeed revolutionise British comedy?but as Puckoon repeatedly illustrates, his actual humour could be cripplingly dire. Unless you find, say, a man mistaking a donkey for a large dog hilarious. It says something that Puckoon is a waste of Sean Hughes’ comic talents.

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