Comfort and Joy (1984)
Paterson has the Frosty Hots
Early morning disc jockey Allan "Dicky" Bird (Bill Paterson) thought life was going fine with kleptomaniac girlfriend Maddy (Eleanor David) until out of the blue she starts boxing stuff up to leave. It leaves Allan devastated until one day he spots the beautiful Charlotte (Clare Grogan) in the back of a "Mr. Bunny" ice cream van and after following the van goes to buy an ice cream from her. But in doing so Allan finds himself in the midst of a turf war between rival ice cream sellers as a group of men set about the ice cream van with baseball bats. Intrigued by this ice cream war Allan decides to try and broker a peace deal between the rivals, using his position to try and smooth things over. But with all his good intentions Allan continually finds himself and his car coming worse off.
Watching "Comfort and Joy" makes you realise how far modern comedies have fallen compared to how they once were. Here is a movie just 30 years old but it is a comedy which takes its time to establish characters so that we not only understand them but feel like part of their lives. Within minutes of the movie starting we already feel at ease around the calm and polite Allan as he watches Maddy shoplifting and we feel for him when out of the blue Maddy packs up her stuff and leaves. The fact there is no over the top shouting from Allan with him dealing with things in that amicable manner makes him amusing much more amusing than someone being hysterical and throwing bags of clothes out of the window which is the norm these days.
What that means is that when after the build up "Comfort and Joy" serves up this humorous set up of an ice cream turf war the focus on the characters make it feel less ridiculous than it is and there are some ridiculous aspects to it such as Allan finding his car seats covered in ice cream. But then anyone who knows their movies will expect nothing less from writer and director Bill Forsyth who has a real ability for delivering comedies which feature real people with various layers to make them as entertaining as the humorous storyline.
But before you think that "Comfort and Joy" may not be that funny there are lots of wonderful set piece scenes such as when out of the blue 2 guys in a Cortina pull up and attack the ice cream van with baseball bats. We have the owner fighting back with squirty raspberry sauce and strawberry ice cream whilst one of the men in an ice cream covered balaclava spots and recognizes Allan and asks for an autograph. It is daft yet somehow works without feeling like a set piece gag which is what happens through out.
What this all boils down to is that "Comfort and Joy" is another gem from Bill Forsyth with lots of humorous scenes built around amusing characters which just draw you in to what is both a charming yet daft comedy.
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