Arthur's Dyke (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Arthur's Dyke (2001)

Rambling

Twenty years ago four friends, on the cusp of their adult lives, walked the longest walk of their lives along Offa's Dyke. Now three of them, Arthur (Robert Daws), Andy (Richard Graham) and Geoffrey (Nicholas Farrell), have returned to walk it again, having promised, all those years ago, to return in twenty years. They find themselves joined by Janet (Pauline Quirke) who having becoming fed up of her life married to Dave (Brian Conley) has decided to do the walk to give herself some sense of achievement. But their walk is not without its issues from brawls with squaddies to Geoffrey's mistress Phillipa (Rebecca Lacey) showing up.

For about the fist half an hour "Arthur's Dyke" had me as we met each of our four characters all of which have their own problems from Arthur still behaving like he did twenty years ago to Janet's husband blatantly cheating on her. There was some thing simply amusing about these four people spending time together walking in the countryside. But then after that first 30 minutes it all started to get repetitive as Arthur would act sexist and chase young women whilst Geoffrey would be dealing with his mistress who would show up at every hotel they are booked in to or he would be on his mobile for work. And with this repetitive nature it started to feel like it was rambling, not really going anywhere.

What this means is that "Arthur's Dyke" ends up a movie which is sporadically amusing with once in a while a scene genuinely being funny. Yet in some ways it is also a little shocking because here is a movie which as I write is only 16 years old yet it is filled with the sort of comedy homophobia and references which I doubt would be permitted in modern movies. Look I am sure none of it was intended to offend at the time but it just shows how different things are now and as such some might find parts of the movie offensive.

In truth "Arthur's Dyke" is such an uneven movie that most of the characters end up not really working with at times the actors seeming to be struggling with the material. This is most definitely the case of Dennis Waterman as a private eye following Andy around as sadly all his scenes end up unfunny. But the one consistent performance from start to finish comes from Pauline Quirke as Janet and that comes from her being the most sympathetic and easy to understand as she sets out to achieve something for herself whilst she is never offensive to anyone.

What this all boils down to is that I am sure the intention with "Arthur's Dyke" was to deliver a British comedy about old friends and new going on this walk where they do some soul searching as to the lives they are living. Unfortunately after a good opening it ends up inconsistently funny, dated and in general rambles along making it not terrible but not great either.


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