Clockwise (1986) starring John Cleese, Alison Steadman, Sharon Maiden, Stephen Moore, Chip Sweeney, Penelope Wilton directed by Christopher Morahan Movie Review

Clockwise (1986)   3/53/53/53/53/5

John Cleese in Clockwise (1986)

It's Cleese Time

Brian Stimpson (John Cleese - Silverado) is a man who loves schedules and it is his love of schedules which has helped him as headmaster turn his comprehensive school into a well oiled machine. That in turn has lead Brian to the honour of being elected chairman of the Headmasters' Conference not something which usually gets awarded to the Heads of comprehensive schools. It is why Brian is off to Norwich; to speak at the conference except he gets on the wrong train his well thought out schedule to get there is thrown into disarray and finds himself talking a student, Laura (Sharon Maiden), in to driving him the 150 miles there. Unfortunately Laura has just split up from her boyfriend, the school's music teacher, and after a series of confusions involving Laura's parents, Brian's wife, affairs, police and old flames it seems the head who is known for his time keeping will be late.

To say "Clockwise" has been my nemesis would be too strong of a phrase but unlike some British comedies which I once struggled with but grew to like "Clockwise" has never done it for me. And I can put that down to John Cleese as whilst I enjoy Cleese in small doses an entire 90 plus minutes of Cleese playing one of those bossy, always in the right sort of characters is too much for me. Oh there is no denying that Cleese plays that sort of role well and therefore the character of Brian Stimpson well, probably better than anyone but it isn't for me and whilst there are other actors such as Sharon Maiden and Alison Steadman it is all John Cleese.

Sharon Maiden in Clockwise (1986)

Aside from Cleese well "Clockwise" is a classic comedy which combines confusion humour with a road trip. As such as the story unravels we have Brian's wife spotting him with Laura and thinking he is having an affair, Laura's parents thinking their car has been stolen whilst also thinking Brian is the older man she is seeing. And there is more but it is nothing amazingly original as confusion combined with road trip had been done before.

The thing is that "Clockwise" is a nicely put together and flows thick and fast with director Christopher Morahan handling it all nicely. But rather than being a screwball comedy it ends up more eccentric British farce.

What this all boils downs to is that "Clockwise" is simply for those who are fans of John Cleese because it is all about him and the sort of character he plays so well. But if you can only cope with Cleese in small doses it is hard work.