What starts off great soon turns out a disappointment – never mind..
The 1980s were kind to Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt), a time when he was on top of the television tree with his hit show Mindhorn, a detective series that saw him don a robotic eye with eyepatch and prove to be one hell of a ladies man. Fast forward some 25 years later and things are very different – Thorncroft finds himself struggling for work and residing on the Isle of Man, while one of his former cast members (Steve Coogan) enjoys a wealthy return for his own spin-off show.
While Mindhorn may be a distant memory, Thorncroft still lives for his heyday and that is about to return with the emergence of a serial killer determined only to deal with the fictional character himself. Cue a return to the role that made him and some reuniting with some old faces who may or not may not be too happy to see him, including an ex flame Patricia Deville (Essie Davis) and his former stunt double Clive Parnevik (Simon Farnaby).
Mindhorn starts off as a brilliantly promising comedy that pokes fun at that classic era of television detectives and really nails the satirical edge of collaborators Barratt and Farnaby. From the cheesy title sequence for its fictional show to the overall character of Mindhorn, the film lays the foundations of a comedy that has true promise. Sadly, that promise soon evolves into a film that is both tiresome and running out of ideas rather quickly.
It is in its first act that Mindhorn is truly fun comedy, setting up its core character and those populating the area around him. Barratt is brilliantly witty in his eye-patch guise, while Farnaby is standout as the muscular and cocksure stuntman, while the likes of Coogan, Angela Riseborough and co set up some likeable side characters but once they’re established is where the film falters. The worst case is in Russell Tovey’s serial killer, all too often uttering his bird impression and becoming all too annoying and frustrating in one clean sweep.
And this is the film in a nutshell, happy when it is establishing but once it gets down to the nitty gritty that’s when things fall from the sky. A batch of silly and unfunny jokes don’t help things along and by the time we’ve established that there is more in Thorncroft’s life than his past endeavours on television we are past actually caring. It’s a shame as the promise really is there but the remainder of the film sorely misses the mark and becomes quickly forgettable.
Mindhorn is out on DVD and Blu-ray now.