Get Duked sounded zany and hilarious with an interesting cast that includes Eddie Izzard whom I have loved in everything he’s been in so I was excited to see this film. The film lived up to its promise of an anarchic satire of generational politics pitting four youths of tomorrow against the status quo of yesterday. Not only was it as funny as I’d imagined, with nonstop laughter but it is well crafted with an excellent cast and jokes that turn this film into a modern-day Monty Python.
Directed by Ninian Doff, Get Duked is about three Glasgow teenager pals, Dean (Rian Gordon), Duncan (Lewis Gribben) and DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), who embark on a character-building camping trip–based on a real-life program—known as the Duke of Edinburgh award, where foraging, teamwork, and orienteering are the order of the day. Joined by straight-laced Ian (Samuel Bottomley) who wants to play by the rules unlike his weed smoking compatriots, the four quickly veer off the path onto a remote farmland that is worlds away from their urban life. The boys find themselves being hunted by a shadowy organization, led by The Duke (Eddie Izzard) and The Duchess (Georgie Glen) and must find a way to overcome their differences to survive. They also find support in unusual places such as hip hop loving farmers, hallucinogenic rabbit shites, an incompetent police force, and a bread thief.
First, this film had me laughing from start to finish. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the plot was reminiscent of the satire The Hunt but the humor is wildly different, with a mix of silliness and Monty Python–style jokes, that builds to a riotous finish. While the jokes may seem simple, the humor is built throughout the movie and are perfect for the modern generation. Some of the jokes satirize the idea of what Hip Hop is and who can enjoy it as well as making fun of life in the Scottish Highlands. I will admit that I’ve always enjoyed the biting satire of British comedy so I may be biased but this blended the best of the old comedy with modern-day society.
While the plot seems simple, it is crafted well with jokes that are well integrated from start to finish with one joke crystallizing into a punchline only at the end of the movie. That particular comedy bit also ties together the entire plot to a conclusion that is incredibly funny. Some of the stunts the boys get up to are silly and not the brightest but all of their choices make sense from the point of view of the characters. And while Ian as the sensible one makes wiser choices, it is all in aid of the story and the humor with his character having a fair share of the comedy bits.
Besides the comedy elements, the plot also emphasizes teamwork and friendship. The only way for the boys to survive is to figure out a way to get along and work together. Each of them is unique and different from those around them and it is only in acknowledging that similarity that they are able to build a friendship. They also must find ways to accept what makes them unique and use it to fight back against the shadowy organization. The blend of humor with the emphasis on friendship makes for a solid plot.
Part of what helps the humor is the dialogue. There are some incredibly funny lines in the film. The title of the film is one of those, Get Duked as a response yelled to the hunters. There are lines about weed and Hip Hop. The lines to DJ Beetroot’s Hip Hop songs are both funny and catchy. There is one line that reminds me of a line out of a Terry Pratchett satire, “I have a fork and it is well sharp.” Many of the lines remind me of a cross between Black Adder and Monty Python and are equally funny, just updated for today’s youth. Even lines that aren’t humorous are engaging and interesting, especially the discussion between the young men and the hunters toward the conclusion of the chase.
The dynamics between the actors are brilliant. The chemistry between them is fantastic in that they all are wildly different but portray their characters in a way that makes the jokes between them natural, the fighting seems genuine, and the friendship real. The farmers they meet do a great job, playing up their love of hip hop and drugs while initially seeming down to earth. The police, Kevin Guthrie as PC Hamish and Katie Dickie as Sergeant Morag, build the comedy by portraying themselves as being bored with the lack of crime and willing to do anything to catch the local bread thief. Their portrayal of excitement over a possible Hip Hop gang invading the Highlands is part of what lends humor to the movie. In addition to the police, there are the hunters, led by Eddie Izzard. Eddie Izzard is as usual a genius, portraying a man who is interested in weeding out the unsavory elements of society. The commentary and dialogue between the hunters and the teenagers are part of what makes the performances so hilarious.
While the story itself is not unique, the film is by no means lacking. It is entirely focused on the comedy and it is wildly successful, giving viewers a story that will keep an audience laughing every few minutes. The young men are personable and charismatic. If you like Black Adder or Monty Python and are looking for a similar style of British humor, then this is the movie to watch. The cast is incredible and it is absolutely the funniest film I have seen all year.
Rating: 4 out of 5 well sharp forks