Nope, not a clever blog post title, but the name of the film I caught this afternoon.
Plot-in-a-nutshell: A Scottish comedian bumps into an old school “friend” and finds out secrets about his past that weren’t what he’d have expected.
Crying With Laughter is dark. Very dark. If it were any darker you’d need to carry a spotlight in with you to watch it. For a film about a comedian it does have a few laughs but mainly it’s just pretty grim.
Stephen McCole plays Joey Frisk, a stand-up comic based in Edinburgh. He’s a divorced dad, a bit of a cocaine addict, an alcoholic and generally not really living the best of lives. His stand-up routine’s also a bit crap, frankly.
After getting kicked out of his flat, he finds himself up on an assault charge. He doesn’t have much of a defence as he was smashed out of his head and can’t remember the evening in question.
Enter Frank Archer (Malcolm Shields), the old school “friend” who Frisk barely remembers. For some reason he’s incredibly insistent that Joey attend a school reunion. And it’s not the kind of reunion you might be expecting.
As I said, this film is really very black indeed. The comedy’s fairly low brow, and the subject matter later in the film is not the sort of thing you’d normally find yourself laughing at. Thing is, the film manages to blend the stand-up and some amusing segues with a rather gritty storyline.
I spent the first 30 minutes wondering where the story was going. Then the next thirty wondering what was going on, but in a good way. I was hooked.
It isn’t brilliant. Perrier’s Bounty was brilliant. This is just pretty good.
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- Crying With Laughter: Film review (guardian.co.uk)