Skip to main content


UK / USA, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Peter Chelsom

Much darker and quirkier than his previous film, the director of Hear My Song has cre­ated a truly marvellous comedy that manages to be a wildly comedic tale about the search for comic invention and a blithely twisted medita­tion on the nature of its genius.

There are two types of comedians, those who talk funny—stand-ups with great rehearsed rou­tines—and those who are funny, who have 'funny bones', and Tommy, son of a 'king of comedy', fears that he has neither. Fleeing an excruciat­ingly embarrassing Las Vegas debut (for what is funny that rarely Isn't cruel?) and the shadow of his famous father (played by Jerry Lewis in a caustically self-referential performance), he arrives in Blackpool England, comedy capital of the world (move over Melbourne) intent on buy­ing himself an act. Interviewing an outrageous cavalcade of vaudeville performers, he stumbles upon an eccentric circus family who are from true laughing stock, with a son (the fantastically talented Lee Evans) whose off-beat originality is both burden and blessing.

Awesome in its captivating comic complexi­ties and manic plot machinations, the film walks a tightrope of madcap entertainment and the potentially violent emotions that lie in wait just the other side of slapstick. A brilliant heir to the legacy of Ealing Studios (where it was shot), Funny Bones is old-time burlesque with a decided­ly surrealist bent.

See also...


A very complex film composed of a series of interlocking pieces which all have a significance beyond just being part of ... the story—obsession, destruction, the many facets of the human ... More »


An absolutely astounding documentary about the life and (alleged) crimes of Oscar Goodman - Mob lawyer. Fans of Scorsese's Casino will recognise Goodman who played himself as Robert DeNiro's court ... More »


“Hip-hop didn't invent anything. Hip-hop reinvented everything.” - Grandmaster Caz ... Featuring classic raps, freestyle rhymes and never-before-heard a capellas from some of the all-time masters ... More »


Director Stephen Kijak will be a guest of the festival and will be introducing the first screening of Scott Walker: 30 Century Man ... “Wow. That's... that's amazing. I've seen God in the window ... More »


One critic has referred to Unmade Beds helmer Nicholas Barker as, 'A fly on the wall turned into a vulture,'' another as, "The most sadistic director in the UK." Strangely, the remarks were meant as ... More »


One of the world's first fully-digitized, computer-animated films. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director