Sex Lives of the Potato Men

Intermittently amusing, consistently crude FHM generation aimed fodder. Not much cop at all.

Released in 2004, certified UK-18. Reviewed on 21 Feb 2004 by Scott Morris
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By the beard of Wotan, if this hasn't been given an absolute mauling in the press. To be honest, we can see their points. Aimed rather squarely at late teen to mid twenties lads, it's a crass, juvenile, lowest common denominator of a film that spends altogether too much time expecting you to find words like 'fanny' amusing on their own. It's trying altogether too hard to channel the risible American Pie series (see here for our opinion of the latest horrorshow from that franchise) which isn't a terribly good idea.

Plotwise there's little to speak of. After potato delivery man Dave (Johnny Vegas) is booted out of his home by his wife largely for being Johnny Vegas, he tries to get over the pain by sleeping around, hindered by the fact he's Johnny Vegas. His best mate Ferris (Mackenzie Crook) has more luck, although it's only making things more complicated. Living with his estranged wife's mother and involved in a bizarre relationship with the chip shop girl and her husband if anything he's looking for an escape route.

Their boss Jeremy (League of Gentlemen star Mark Gatliss) is spurned by his ex Ruth (Lucy Davis, the receptionist from The Office) so he takes the only rational course of action, stalk her and kidnap her dog. The remaining potato man Tolly (Dominic Coleman) is kept busy largely with his rigorous masturbation regime and quest to find the perfect fish and strawberry jam sandwich, the providence of which is best left buried.

And so it goes on in it's farcical little way, although it does handle the dog shit gags better than American Pie: The Waste of Time. Dave's experience at group sex tends to end up talking more about the lack of adequate parking in the vicinity and Ferris ends up taking more satisfaction in crazy paving than sex. None of the above is particularly funny.

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What few laughs are to be had come from either Vegas' usual trademark delivery eking humour from places that it ought not be and wouldn't if anyone other than Vegas said them. Of course, this depends on your opinion of Vegas, if you haven't been previously enamoured of the fat man's charms this won't do a damn thing to change your mind. Everyone else is certainly on screen, but that's about it.

The last film of this nature to shamble our way was the similarly Johnny Vegas starring Blackball and while this is slightly more bearable there's still a huge number of weaknesses. At least it's not boring, but the fact remains that it's not hugely funny either. Coming from someone sitting comfortably in the target audience demographic I can only imagine how intolerable it would be for those outside of it.

The other strike against this latest 'Britflick' is that it feels continually like it ought to be a TV series rather than a film. Doing absolutely nothing cinematically to warrant the larger format, it only reinforces the thought that it's full of people more commonly seen in the comedy slots of BBC2 and Channel 4. Not a bad thing in itself, but coupled with a notable lack of ambition from writer / director Andy Humphries it feels very much like it doesn't belong on the big screen.

To be fair, there's the odd moment of surreal genius, largely in Vegas and co's off the wall pub discussions on the origins of honey stemming Ferris' fear of wasps, and a bizarre cameo from BBC2 business affairs programme Working Lunch's Adrian Chiles. Whether they're worth putting up with the majority of the film which while not offensive in the Pie Wedding sense certainly isn't funny is another matter, and to be honest it's not really worth the fiver at all.

I grant this film clemency and one extra TippyMark because it's short enough not to be boring and it has lots of actors I like in it. It's just that I don't like them in this.

Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 2/5 TippyMarks.

Andy Humphries
Cast list:
Johnny Vegas (Dave)
Mackenzie Crook (Ferris)
Mark Gatiss (Jeremy)
Dominic Coleman (Tolly)
Adrian Chiles (Sex Party Host)