Jack Bottomley, Media Correspondent

Review: The Nan Movie

TV creations are very often marmite at the best of times but there is a proven track record of many British TV to film leaps not quite working out.

Enter, The Nan Movie, which I had no clue was even a thing until a month or two back! Yet, even as someone who rather enjoyed Catherine Tate's foul mouthed Nan character (probably the breakout creation from her hit noughties sketch show The Catherine Tate Show) I approached the Nan The Movie with shall we say lower but hopeful expectations.

Good news is, in spite of its almost review-less coverage (the few that are out there are damning) it is not Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie or Keith Lemon The Film bad (what is?)…but it is still a hot mess of a movie, hence the end product having no actual credited director. Though Mary Queen of Scots director Josie Rourke was initially the one tasked as director, but when a director’s name disappears ahead of release, it’s never a great sign really.

The Nan Movie is a truly odd attempt at blending road trip borderline gross out comedy with period drama
The story, in the grand old tradition of most British TV to Film jumps, features a holiday of sorts, as Nan (Catherine Tate) and her loving but long suffering grandson Jamie (Matthew Horne), go on a road trip to Ireland, much against Nan’s wishes, to see her dying estranged sister Nell (Katherine Parkinson - again notably absent from all promotional material), who Nan still holds a decades long grudge against. The results are a mad trip, full of bizarre and bonkers detours.

The Nan Movie is a truly odd attempt at blending road trip borderline gross out comedy with period drama, as the story moves back and forward between the present travelling shenanigans, and a ‘40s London set tale of war and love. It is really odd to leave a cinema screening of comedy based on a TV show and character, and thinking that the drama moments worked better than the gags, but truth be told this all feels a good decade or so out of date on both fronts.

The whole project has the unshakable vibe of a shelved movie that was filmed about 10 years ago and has kept being tinkered with here and there ever since, as they wonder when best -if ever - to release it. Which might explain its somewhat scattershot make-up, worst of all being some terrible and baffling animated cut-in segments, that are absolutely woeful. Not sure if this was a budget-restricting issue or a solution to reshoots but yikes are they bad!

Some fans will undoubtedly find things to love (pretty much the things you saw in the trailer - the biggest laugh being Nan’s Riddler gag with a parking patrol woman) and the cast throw themselves into it (Tate especially), but this does not work, and is another case of TV-to-Movie transition that far overstretches the character to feature length, losing its grip on what made that character work so well in the first place.

Some might say it’s a load of old…you know what, others might find dirty laughs in Nan’s cackling antics, but this is an unusual beast that arrives far too late to even capitalise on any of the character’s peak TV success. It’s certainly an Inbetweeners 2 flop rather than an Alpha Papa success. What a f’n liberty!

Starring: Catherine Tate, Matthew Horne, Katherine Parkinson
Release Date: Out Now