Charm and the foot which steps into accident... was for Laurel and Hardy the secret of their comedy. If Stan Laurel (the impeccable Steve Coogan) could plant himself in a fractured floorboard, then Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly, constantly wonderful) would scoop up the pieces and gain a laugh as well. They were the complete double act, an action/reaction fail safe where impressions bloom when given due diligence by a confidant.
Wondering if two modern actors might venture a spiritual re-connection, my tears hold the answer. In Jon S. Baird's Stan & Ollie, mimicry underlines the action, while eyes broaden the appeal. Regarding Coogan and Reilly, both master the mannerisms lurking inside the petri dish. Any microscopic alterations would be mural size under penalty of failure.
Applause! These men excel in their duties. Whether a character appears made up or headline ripped, prosthetics won't hide the deception. True to form, Reilly embodies the round frame of his subject, a call to arms where authenticity matches the letter. Although we have witnessed some awkwardness rendered by bulk, he mirrors Hardy's keen posture as well as confidence in being step-wise graceful.
From Laurie Rose's parched perfect framing to Rolfe Kent's delicate melodies, Stan & Ollie can be spotlit from the pack, the colours dancing on a grey sea. (Capsule review)
(Released by Sony Pictures Classics and rated “PG” for some language, and for smoking.)
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