At the tail end of their careers Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) go on a tour of the UK. Broke and needing the money they play to half empty theatres before some hard promotional graft improves their audiences. When their wives arrive, played by Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda some old cracks in their relationship appear.
Earlier this year I received some bafflement from those kind enough to read my words on this site at the fact that I found Bohemian Rhapsody to be an entirely mediocre film. And even more vitriol came my way because of my indifference to their music. What I can say is that Stan and Ollie is my Bohemian Rhapsody. As a child my brother had a number of VHS tapes that he had filled with recordings of Laurel and Hardy films from the TV. The two of us used to watch these films on an almost infinite loop. They were hilarious. As a result this film was nostalgic gold.
The film has a number of very good qualities aside from nostalgia, but perhaps for none fans it might just be a gentle paced average watch.
Coogan and Reilly are faultless. They manage to both mimic the stars routines and mannerisms as well as give them decades worth of friendship written across their faces. Their disagreements and love for each other are believable and touching. With much less screen time Henderson and Arianda also manage to display the bond of wives to these stars and there is a particularly touching moment between the two near the end that had me welling up.
I found the film a joy and if you have any affection for the duo then I suspect you might too.