One of the biggest things that attracted me to Mindhorn was the casting of the Mighty Boosh pairing of Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby. The trailers had me in fits of laughter everytime and it just looked brilliant with Julian at the helm.
Brilliantly the story seemed very simple (which stemmed from a idea by Simon Farnaby) as an old washed-up television detective helps real detectives bring justice. Of course, you just know that Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barrett) is going to be completely inept and if anything, an hindrance to the police.
So why is he helping them?
Well, the accused killer Paul Melly (Russell Tovey) believes Detective Mindhorn to be real. The set up is brilliant, especially as the opening sequence shows Richard Thorncroft severing all ties with the Isle of Man as he exclaims he is off to Hollywood.
Fast-forward to the present day and he is extremely rotund, balding and struggling for work. He reluctantly returns to his old stomping ground to try and help bring justice, but that’s not without scorn from the locals remembering his departure.
Richard Thorncroft soon becomes the butt of the joke as he tries to keep it together and continue the air of arrogance that he possesses, although he is effectively washed up. He interacts with his former co-stars including Pete Eastman (Steve Coogan) who played Windjammer (a now 16-season successful show) and his stuntman Clive (Simon Farnaby) who is now shacking up with Patricia Deville (Essie Davis) who has become a lead journalist for Manx News.
Mindhorn slowly slips into becoming a run of the mill comedy, as Richard becomes Mindhorn once more to try and bring justice to the Isle of Man. But this doesn’t happen without mishaps, as one would expect with Julian Barrett at the helm of this film.
The use of the Isle of Man begins to work; because it becomes a film where there is a feeling that everyone knows everyone, which leads to more comedy at the expense of Richard Thorncroft. The characters throughout the 89 runtime aren’t exactly the most concrete, especially as Richard has the run-of-the-mill epiphany about his life. But it’s not necessary for film like Mindhorn to have the most engaging plot or characters, as long as it keeps you laughing.
And it does. As I mentioned majority of the comedy is situational and at the expense of Richard Thorncroft, but it works, especially as he continues to carry himself through his interactions with the locals and his former co-stars. Unfortunately, majority of the bigger laughs were kept in the trailers, and as it got to these points, I had already seen the sequence numerous times.
The narrative as I mentioned isn’t the most engaging, but has enough to keep the pace of the film chugging along the 89 minute runtime as everything isn’t quite as it seems on the Isle of Man. Mindhorn is quite enjoyable and continues to have laughs throughout, which is what is needed for a film of this calibre.
I was expecting the comedy to be a bit more oddball, but thankfully it didn’t go down that route and stayed under its own influence. Julian Barrettt does channel his Howard Moon character in certain sections, but nothing to move Mindhorn into the realms of the Boosh. It’s of perfect length, especially as the film is a comedy, anything longer would’ve been a detriment to the film. For a good laugh, Mindhorn is top.