Funny how a country renowned for its sense of humour has made such a chimp's fist of translating its bankable comedy talents to the big screen. Lenny Henry's Hollywood jaunt crunched into a lamppost with one-shit-blunder True Identity, Lee Evans went and straitjacketed himself into slapstick spazzo cameos, and as for the ghastly shite that was Guest House Paradiso? Don't start. So it's with a splutter of relief that Harry Enfield's first effort gets it right and grabs the laughs.
Almost shameless in its template-filching of American teen comedies (your Waynes, Bill&Teds), Enfield and David Cummings' ain't-broke-don't-fix script might not offer anything fresh to the rites-of-passage genre, but at least it displays an understanding of the cogs that make this kind of comedy work. That Kevin and Perry arse up, split up, make up and eventually grow up won't come as a surprise to anyone, but as with all coming-of-age comedies, it's not how you get there, it's who you're with. And, provided that you can take all the ""So unfair!"" slaganeering, Kev and Perry make for choice, laugh-at company.
Of all Enfield's vast repertoire of characters, griping Kevin might not be an obvious candidate for a cinematic make-over. Over-played by Enfield with the usual sulk, skulk and huff, he remains a grotesque teenage caricature. He's also rather unsympathetic - - unlike Kathy Burke's Perry, who's just pathetic - - but oddly loveable with it. As with the TV show, the partnership may fizz chemistry, but it's Perry - - oily, gormless, moronic mogadoned - - who wins most laughs, even when the material doesn't necessarily deserve them. As for Rhys Ifans' obnoxious DJ, he's much like most of his remixes, one-note and too loud, although screaming ""Twat!"" after shotgunning vodka through his eyes is not entirely without its appeal.
Still, sticking with the TV show's short `n' stupid sketch format inevitably means a hit-and-miss gag ratio. So, misses? Well, the gross-out moments are, minus a commendably indecent fecal torpedo sequence, a bit too "Go-uhh-at-this" in their sick-trigger jabbing. Similarly, an over-done erection gag is a flaccid joke that stiffs it after the third, fourth and far-too-manyth time, and, after Austin Powers championed the phrase in two movies, the ""shag""-drenched dialogue is less hip, more hip-replacement.
And hits? Predictable though it is, Kevin's constant spluttering horror (and Perry's randy throbbing) at his parent's public loving, some truly stupid club slang (""Rinsin'!"") and a terrific spoof of that teen movie staple, the girls-getting-ready sequence. It also has in its favour a constantly in-yer-ears soundtrack courtesy of Judge Jules (although be wary of wannabe `comedy' single Big Girl cluttering a bargain bin near you soon).
Much like Kevin's libido it takes a while to get going, but once it hits pace, Go Large racks up enough low-brow moments of snorting stupidity to make for a fun, albeit juvenile, night out. A classic it definitely ain't, but Enfield fans won't be disappointed.
Think Bill&Ted's Ibiza Adventure. Granted, the gags have the hit-and-miss rate of a myopic archer, but, like Kevin himself, this is unsophisticated, energetic and überstupid stuff, resulting in - - at last - - a (mostly) gut-rinsin' Brit-com to crow about.