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Comedy from Charlie Brooker starring Philomena Cunk, the witless commentator from Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe. Philomena knows absolutely nothing about Shakespeare, but that won't stop her attempting to present a groundbreaking documentary about him. Cunk will leave no stone unturned as she gets to the bottom of the Bard, visiting his birthplace, exploring the Globe, studying priceless artefacts and interviewing literally six different experts, including renowned actor Simon Russell Beale, Educating Yorkshire teacher Matthew Burton and top Shakespearean scholar Professor Stanley Wells. Shorter than Hamlet, funnier than King Lear and easier to spell than Cymbeline, Cunk On Shakespeare is absolutely the last word in Shakespeare documentaries.
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Cunk on Shakespeare movie full length review - Limp Satire
Potentially CUNK ON Shakespeare could have plowed a rich satirical seam by making fun of the prevailing reverence for Shakespeare as a cultural icon, as well as parodying some of the more earnest presenters seen on BBC documentaries, such as Professors Brian Cox and Amanda Vickery.
What a shame, then, that the end result turned out to be so limp. Director Lorry Powles sends his eponymous presenter Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) out on a series of location shoots to understand why Shakespeare has been lionized in British cultures both during and after his death. She visits several locations, including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Stratford, and the Globe Theatre in London; and talks to a variety of luminaries and academics including Simon Russell Beale and theater director Matthew Burton.
Her ignorance of history and literature is breathtaking, rendering the interviewees quite literally speechless. Clearly the intention was to make fun of the so-called "experts" that dominate the screen, and their perceived knowledge of their subjects (much of which is extraneous anyway).
PHILOMENA CUNK continues a tradition of mockumentaries that encompasses THE OFFICE as well as the KEVIN TURVEY cycle of programs created by Rik Mayall in the Eighties. The only problem is that despite the script being penned by three authors, including Charlie Brooker, it is simply not funny. Having Philomena making toilet jokes or uttering four-letter words in response to her interviewees' statements makes her (and the writers, by implication) seem boorish rather than entertaining.
In the end we feel sorry for the interviewees who have given up their time to participate in this farrago of nonsense.