So 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.