Those fed up with big-screen adaptations of cherished American TV shows shouldn’t expect much better from the UK, as this soporifically mild re-do of the beloved 1968-1977 series is at once too innocuous and bland to appeal to younger auds, while fans of the original will likely wonder why anyone even bothered.
In 1944 at the tail end of World War II, Captain Mainwaring’s (Toby Jones) platoon becomes collectively smitten with Rose Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a German spy posing as a journalist covering their unit. As the men begin thinking with their other heads, the very end of the war hangs perilously in the balance if her spying is allowed to continue.
Watching the new Dad’s Army, there’s the profound feeling that filmmakers better versed in successful screwball farce, such as the Coen Brothers, could have knocked this out of the park. Instead, director Oliver Parker (St. Trinian’s, Johnny English Reborn) and scribe Hamish McColl (Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Paddington) assemble a terrific cast – also including Bill Nighy, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Blake Harrison – for an aggressively dull, sigh-inducingly “cheeky” romp that fails to bring any contemporary charm to justify this update. After all, otherwise, why not just watch your old boxed set?
Toby Jones is clearly trying the hardest here and deserves recognition for this, but the entire cast is left stranded with woefully obvious, drawn-out gags, and only the alluring presence of Zeta-Jones, who appears in the movie much more than expected, might keep those eyes from closing as the pic wears on. Cheaply made, poorly filmed and more cringe-worthy than entertaining, the moldy humour and production will likely only appeal to the most easily-satisfied and undemanding of audiences, whilst most others will simply anticipate the end of the experience. This one can’t even be recommended to the hardcore Dad’s Army crowd; it’s that bad.
Dad’s Army is in cinemas now