Whilst the primetime programmes can often leave a lot to be desired, Britain has always excelled when it comes to what can loosely be described as ‘alternative comedy’. You can trace this back to the likes of The Goon Show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Derek and Clive, The Young Ones and the output from the Comedy Store. Today, it has never been more popular, with many comedians now part of the mainstream. Several come together for Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break.
Although Paul (Tom Meeten) works in a charity shop in a provincial English town he’s a mild-mannered man with big dreams. Obsessed with a reality talent show hosted by Jack Tapp (Kevin Bishop), he’s been honing his routine with his elderly mother (June Watson) ahead of the regional auditions. After a confusion over dates a mad dash to compete is impeded by a series of unhelpful and obstructive people. Paul snaps and vows revenge.
Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a distinctly British comedy that owes a large debt to Sightseers. Indeed, director Nick Gillespie worked with Kevin Wheatley (as did Meeten) on the film and stars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram both make appearances here. Indeed, with a bevvy of familiar faces, the cast is the main strength of a film which, although it has some very funny moment and scenes, feels rather underwritten. It works in fits and starts and despite a likeable lead Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break doesn’t have the focus to be anything more than an entertaining distraction.
Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break screens at Fantasia International Film Festival.