On the Buses (1971) Movie Review

On the Buses (1971)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Reg Varney and Bob Grant in On the Buses (1971)

Buses, Blakey and Blokey Humour

Stan (Reg Varney - The Best Pair of Legs in the Business) and Jack (Bob Grant) are a likely pair as they work on the London buses always trying to get away with something behind their boss, Blakey's (Stephen Lewis) back. And things are quite cushdie as whilst they are a bit of a work shy pair the shortage of bus drivers means that overtime is always available. It is a good thing for Stan as back home his mum (Doris Hare - The Luck of the Navy) and his sister Olive (Anna Karen) spend, spend, spend and Olive's husband Arthur (Michael Robbins) is tight with his money. But when an unwritten law is broken and the bus depot starts employing women drivers Stan & Jack need to sabotage things before it all goes too far.

Oh how times have changed, can you imagine "On the Buses" being made now days either as a TV series or a movie with its working class set up and abundance of sexist humour which objectifies women. Nope and it has to be said that whilst you can't change the past when you watch "On the Buses", the 1971 spin-off movie, you can't but help cringe at the opening scenes which sees plenty of comedy around Stan and Jack trying it on with attractive women with them even stopping so Jack can pay a lady friend a visit. Of course Stan and Jack being a pair of likely lads is part of what "On the Buses", both this movie and the TV series, was built upon and more often than not at some point they end up being bested by various women.

Stephen Lewis in On the Buses (1971)

But whilst "On the Buses" starts in a now cringe worthy way, and in fairness drops in as much sexual humour as you will find in a "Carry On" movie, there is some other types of comedy in there. From Blakey always falling foul of Stan and Reg to the humour of Stan's home where he still lives with his mum, his sister and her work shy husband it has that working class vibe which I doubt a modern generation of movie fans would appreciate.

Despite its flaws "On the Buses" does feature a good cast and the timing between Reg Varney and Bob Grant is spot on and as good as any other comedy double act of the 70s. Plus they were always surrounded by great comedians with both Anna Karen and Stephen Lewis always providing big laughs with their over the top, quirky characters. It is a case that whilst Varney and Grant were the stars of "On the Buses" without Stephen Lewis as Blakey or Anna Karen as Olive it would never work.

What this all boils down to is that "On the Buses" is a relic of the British comedy past which whilst still amusing, thanks to its working class humour and great timing of all its stars, is one of those comedies which certainly wouldn't get made now due to all the sexual comedy and sexism.

Tags: British TV Shows & Their Movies