In brief-form sketches on The Catherine Tate Present since 2004, Catherine Tate’s Nan character — actual title Joanie Taylor — captured one thing of the unvarnished however dry wit of sure aged London ladies, nailing the best way many working-class ladies speak and react with a transparent, observant eye and 0 condescension. Nonetheless, she is probably an unlikely candidate for a big-screen transition — particularly for the reason that character hasn’t been usually on display screen since 2015. Alas, The Nan Film is a largely unfunny try and wring long-form laughs from a personality who works higher in brief doses.
Written by Tate and Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein, it splits its story between two story strands: Nan (Tate) and nephew Jamie’s (Mat Horne) street journey to an “island off Eire” to reconnect with distant however dying sister Nell (Katherine Parkinson), and a sequence of flashbacks that reveal what drove a wedge between the 2 siblings. The current-tense story is a washout, a sequence of sluggish however more and more mirthless, apparent vignettes — Nan falls in with a bunch of Aussie rugby followers with names like Nutsack and Arsemunch, goes clubbing, will get excessive, turns into an confederate for a militant vegan activist and, worst of all, resumes a feud with Mahler (Niky Wardley), a thorn from Joanie’s previous who’s now a vindictive visitors warden. It’s the stuff of poorly thought-through ’80s youngsters’s TV.
Weirdly, The Nan Film does a greater job with its dramatic beats than it does with its comedy.
The flashback strand is actually explaining why Nan is so embittered and sad together with her lot. Principally set throughout World Battle II, it paints the bond between awkward Joanie and outgoing Nell earlier than it’s damaged by dashing GI Walter (Parker Sawyers). It’s broadly performed — Jack Doolan registers as Joanie’s over-eager suitor Terry — and has a twist within the tail you received’t see coming. Weirdly, due to the abilities of Tate and Parkinson, The Nan Film does a greater job with its dramatic beats than it does with its comedy.
The movie doesn’t have an on-screen directorial credit score — initially introduced director Josie Rourke is cited as an govt producer, and the one declare to authorship comes with an “A Catherine Tate Movie” title card. There’s a scattershot high quality, each within the filmmaking (the titles appear to come back from an ‘edgy’ ’90s youth present; elements of the journey are relayed in poor animation seemingly primarily based on the notion that Jamie makes YouTube ’toons) and the comedy. It flits from fart gags to inane riffing on Sandi Toksvig’s title to some extra profitable character-based chuckles (Joanie’s two-faced high quality is rarely not humorous). It’s all the time been a part of the character’s DNA that she has a preternatural grasp of popular culture, however repeatedly singing alongside to Twaimz’s ‘The Roll Name Music’ feels a step too far when on some degree you might be being requested to put money into a narrative about sisterly reconnection.