David Tennant was originally cast in this movie and left the production

Burke and Hare contemporary engravingsSo I sincerely apologize if any of you have seen this movie and loved it. My mother always taught me that it’s not nice to say ick about what other people are eating, and I really believe that. So if you liked Burke & Hare with Simon Pegg, please don’t read this.

Sonia and I just walked out of the movie about halfway through. I am so bitterly disappointed. I was in a great mood going in (and had had a couple glasses of wine) and I love Simon Pegg and I love grave-robbing (not as a hobby, you understand, but as a topic of historical interest) so I was really predisposed to love this movie. And I absolutely couldn’t stand it.

I think my main complaint is that there was NOTHING about this comedy that felt specific. To the topic, to the characters, to ANYTHING. This movie could have been set in the 80s and it would have had the exact same complement of jokes:

1. People talking in “hilarious” working class Scottish accents.
2. A woman drinking until she fell with her face in a dish of oatmeal.
3. A fat guy having a fat body. Hilarious! Oh wait no, that’s just HOW PEOPLE LOOK SOMETIMES WHAT IS INHERENTLY FUNNY ABOUT THAT.
4. The word “whore” said in a “funny” accent.

Oh and this one is at least historically specific but I’ve seen it already in 8,000,000 historical comedies:

5. Someone emptying a chamber pot out a window. This hasn’t been funny since THE SIXTIES.

The jokes were just so stale and so easy, and the whole setting looked like it was borrowed from the Masterpiece Theater wardrobe closet (and you know I love low-budget costume dramas, but there was seriously NOTHING fresh about the historical setting, NOTHING), there was such a huge cast of incredibly talented people who were completely and utterly wasted…

I can’t remember the last time I felt this generally appalled about a movie. X-Files 2: I Want to Believe, maybe?

To learn more about Burke and Hare and how incredibly ludicrous their story actually was in actual real life, see this recap.

To see Burke and Hare comedy done right, see this Kate Beaton comic.

3 thoughts on “David Tennant was originally cast in this movie and left the production”

  1. oh DEAR. that doesn’t sound very appealing!
    btw, i’m not sure if we talked bout this before, but there’s an old chidlren’s rhyme from edinburgh about them –
    Up the close and down the stair,
    But n ben with Burke and Hare,
    Burke’s the butcher, Hare’s the thief,
    And Knox the man that buys the beef.

    1. It was AWFUL! Also OMG I’m SO tired of the whole “Scottish accents are inherently comic” thing–I bet you are too, huh.
      I’ve read that rhyme before in books about graverobbing, but are you saying it’s still in use by children??? If so I did NOT realize that, so cool!

      1. ha, that you get used to that, and if you got too annoyed you’d not be able to watch telly and function – though it can cross the line into wtf? (also people get it WRONG so often. badly faked glaswegian accents are probably the worst. it’s a dialect unto itself, you can’t just make it up, rar!) i do have a weird soft spot for groundskeeper willie in the simpsons. possibly because the joke is more than just the accent? plus, he made us out to be a nation of perverts. *proud*
        sadly i don’t think it’s still in use – i think i heard about it as a kid, that’s all i can tell you there. i’ll ask my mum this week, but she’s from clydebank (outide glasgow), and i think all their rhymes were about ship building and bomb sites (ahem. well. maybe!)
        [there may be many typos above, wrists are suffering a bit from a v rattle 27 mile bike ride and typing is hard!]

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