Stiff Upper Lips

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

A NAKED GUN movie for the Merchant-Ivory set, this intermittently amusing satire of all those handsomely costumed and terribly British adaptations of E.M. Forster novels relies rather more heavily on crude sight gags than its wits, but often hits its mark. England, 1908: Aristocratic Edward Ivory (Samuel West) brings his insufferably stuffy Cambridge friend...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A NAKED GUN movie for the Merchant-Ivory set, this intermittently amusing satire of all those handsomely costumed and terribly British adaptations of E.M. Forster novels relies rather more heavily on crude sight gags than its wits, but often hits its

mark. England, 1908: Aristocratic Edward Ivory (Samuel West) brings his insufferably stuffy Cambridge friend Cedric Lionel Trilling (Robert Portal) home to Ivory Hall to meet his sexually repressed sister Emily (Georgina Cates) and stodgy Aunt Agnes (Prunella Scales). Edward's hope is that Cedric

and Emily will marry. But Emily finds the Homer-spouting Cedric a bore, and Cedric, while he finds Emily's breasts "interesting," is rather more interested in the shape of Edward's hips than Emily's. One afternoon, while eavesdropping on Cedric and Edward, Emily tumbles into a lake and is rescued

by George (Sean Pertwee), the strapping son of a local rabbit skinner. Emily, who finds George beneath her notice, catches a cold from her dunking, and Aunt Agnes decides that they must do as all good Forster heroes and heroines must: Go to Italy, with George along as both their servant and the

catalyst for Emily's sexual awakening. From the opening parody of CHARIOTS OF FIRE to the throwaway riffs on ORLANDO and GHANDI, the film, written by Paul Simpkin and director, Gary Sinyor, doesn't limit its gentle scorn to A ROOM WITH A VIEW, HOWARD'S END, et al. It also has its way with

Upstairs, Downstairs and Brideshead Revisited, and even crosses national borders to twit DEATH IN VENICE and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. In short, the film satirizes all things beloved by Anglophiliac Americans; how willing you are to admit that you're one of them and are ultimately the

butt of the joke will determine whether you'll laugh or groan your way through it.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A NAKED GUN movie for the Merchant-Ivory set, this intermittently amusing satire of all those handsomely costumed and terribly British adaptations of E.M. Forster novels relies rather more heavily on crude sight gags than its wits, but often hits its mark… (more)

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