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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
A forgotten but hilarious farce
By David Richins
There was a narrow window in the early 80s where comedy ever so quietly reached a peak of hilarity. This movie is one of those little-known gems. Don't be fooled by the scale, the movie couldn't have cost more than the cast, the film, and a couple loads of lumber, but it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. The already stellar cast is at the top of their game, and all balance out each other's performances. From Carol Burnett, who is already a master, to Christopher Reeve who really doesn't get the credit he deserves for his comedy chops, it's a couple of hours you won't regret spending, what... $5 for? Seriously? Heck, buy 6 copies!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
By Edward M. G.
One of my family's all-time favorite movies which we constantly quote. As someone who spent a lot of time in theaters in high school and college, this movie really resonates with me about how crazy things can get back stage. The all-star cast is pitch-perfect in these comedic roles, with excellent physical comedy especially from Carol Burnett and the late John Ritter. I have seen this show performed on stage, and I must admit that I prefer the movie for the extra depth added by being able to film more than what a set would allow.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful. See all 501 customer reviews...
Classic British Farce with a few modern improvements
This is not a movie that calls for a long review or heavy analysis. It is fun, fast, never over the top. The ending is a tad too "Hollywood". You will want to watch this when you want to laugh and when you want to savor superior comedians.
Ladies its stay home movie night and you are sick of car/boat/space-ship chases and exploding gasoline.
Men you are sick of weepy ladies comming together over a dying/sick friend/mother while they complain about uncommunicative men.
I give you the British Farce.
Not just any farce , but farce staring the great Carol Burnett, switching accents and characters at the speed of light. Christopher Reeve as the handsome clueless man. Add in John Ritter, Michael Cane, Julie Haggerty, Marilu Henner and in all nine stars flashing, brilliantly through rapid fire comedy and you have frothy, fun and barely controlled silliness. Something for everyone.
Having made my recommendation a brief synopses will help you to decide. Noises Off! is a movie about bringing a play to Broadway. As such every actor will, by the end of the movie portray at least two characters. We first see them in the roles of their on stage character then as the actor who has the part. We only see the first act and will see it three times. The play being performed is a British Farce so that the movie is a farce within a farce. This is the first modern twist on the old classic. In the first performance the show is in final rehearsal. A time when the cast is "still friends" a most portentous comment.
A minor subplot in the first act, is a romance between the John Ritter character and the Carol Burnett character. This is a tiny aspect of the movie and a matter of a few gestures and looks, yet it is performed with real tenderness. These few bits are executed with much heart proving that these two performers were not just great comics but also comic actors.
The second time we see this act we are entirely back stage. The personal strains from crossed romances and the physical strain of being on the road has the acting company in tatters. Much of this portion of the movie is in pantomime. The entire show teeters on collapse. Some of the dumb-show is too pat, still many will find this the funniest part of the movie.
In the third run everything comes apart. Any further description strays into the world of spoilers, but the cast (real people) get to play out every actors worst nightmare and every audiences' secret dirty wish. Think of a 10 car pile-up in a clown car race.
There is something of a prolog and after word. Neither is all that funny or important. The ending does tie up some loose ends that do not need tying up, and provide a "Hollywood ending"
The essence of British farce is that you can use stereotypes like the dumb blonde, the clueless men and the drunken old actor who is maybe not too old, and get away with it. In no case are stereotypes used to be cruel or to make you feel superior. They are there to speed the communication. You don't have to figure characters just pay attention to the acting. In fact several scenes of visual humor, prove that sometimes the words do not matter. British farce works on timing, speed and controlling the chaos.
Noises Off! is a lively case in point. There are more of these gems in Amazon land, I hope that I can find them.