Skip to main content

FUNNY BONES

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...

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP

“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 »

MIGHTY HEART, A

“Angelina Jolie plays [Mariane Pearl] with a rigour and passion that surprised even the most jaded sceptics in Cannes.” - The Times (UK) Under the direction of Michael Winterbottom (9 Songs ... More »

SCOTT WALKER - 30 CENTURY MAN

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 »

THE DEBT

Some evils can only be repaid in kind. ... 1966, East Berlin. Three Mossad agents, Rachel (Helen Mirren), David (Sam Worthington) and Stefan (Tom Wilkinson) succeed in a daring mission to capture Dr ... More »

EUREKA

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 »

Phone

Persimmon and Duke get their kicks by answering the small ads in the Hollywood Recycler. Their seemingly innocent enquiries are slyly manipulated until the hapless victims are hopelessly floundering ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director