Funny Bones

A lot of time is squandered in setting up this celebration of the English music hall by writer-director Peter Chelsom (Hear My Song). The needlessly cluttered plot offers an obscure intrigue involving French smugglers, and there’s a mainly wasted Jerry Lewis. But once the film settles in Blackpool, where the putative hero (Oliver Platt), a failed comic, goes in search of new material as well as his childhood roots, English music hall comics (Freddie Davies, George Carl, andespeciallyLee Evans) gradually take over the movie, and it gets better and better, eventually climaxing in a jaw-dropping finale. Passing compensations are offered by Lewis and Leslie Caron, and also on hand are Richard Griffiths and Oliver Reed; Peter Flannery collaborated on the screenplay. (JR)

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