Back in 2008 there was a BBC documentary series called Wonderland. It was a spectacularly bizarre spectacle of all that is eccentric and British containing gems such as “The Man Who Eats Badgers and Other Strange Tales” to name but one.
I mention this as it would seem to me that David Earl (“The Cockfields (TV)”, “Rovers (TV)”) and / or Chris Hayward (“Trollied (TV)”, “Smack the Pony (TV)”) have, at some point, probably seen some or all of this series.
Earl and Hayward are, in case you haven’t guessed, the writers of Brian And Charles as well as starring in the movie too, Earl as Brian and Hayward as Charles.
Brian is an eccentric inventor in a small village in Wales and, after yet another failed invention, the flying cuckoo clock, he’s driving in his van when he finds a mannequin’s head and decides, as you do, to build himself a robot, with a washing machine as a tummy.
That washing-machined tummied robot is Charles who springs to life and has just a dictionary, the TV and Brian to teach him the ways of the world. Brain meanwhile, does his best to keep Charles away from anyone, in particular the local town bully Eddie, Jamie Michie (“Back to Life (TV)”, “Educated (Short)”).
When that particular plan fails and Eddie takes Charles to use as his Guy Fawkes on his bonfire, Brian, together with his love interest Hazel, Louise Brealey (“Back (TV)”, “A Discovery of Witches (TV)”), must find a way to get him back, defeat the bully and live out their lives together.
Brian And Charles is a wonderfully funny, bizarre and surreal movie. There’s no doubting it’s British, eccentric to the last. It’s done as though Brain is being followed by a film crew for a documentary, he occasionally talks to them but we only hear them once.
At the start, this is more evident, but as the movie progresses it settles into itself and feels more like a movie. The start though, as Brian is showing us around, telling us about his inventions, is wonderfully awkward and over the top, but in a way that works beautifully.
Once Charles is awakened he then begins to grow up so fast, well, they do don’t they? The movie is then a coming of age story about a father and his rebellious, er, giant robot who is acting like a teenager. Charles blasts music out, talks back and tries to make excuses as to why he should be allowed to leave.
Finally, there’s the bully to tackle and the love interest to win over, so the movie moves onto a romantic comedy. All the while there’s a naive Charles and a documentary-esq feel to the whole thing with some Wallet & Gromit invention vibes thrown in for good measure.
Finally, and perhaps above all, Brian And Charles is a movie about friendship. They may argue, they may differ, but, ultimately, they both know that together they are better than apart, pushing each other, wanting and finding the best for each other, that’s friendship, that’s Brian And Charles.
17th July 2022
THE QUICK SELL
After a particularly harsh winter Brian goes into a deep depression; completely isolated and with no one to talk to, Brian does what any sane person would do when faced with such a melancholic situation. He builds a robot.