While today's movie industry is ruled by superheroes in multimillion-dollar blockbusters, there was a time when the biggest stars in the world were just a couple of slapstick comedians with wildly different body types. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are coming back to the movies than to Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, though Stan & Ollie looks to be a bit less slapstick and a bit more of an emotional journey. Check it out.
Stan & Ollie will pick up after the iconic pair has already become world famous. They've traveled to Europe to do a tour of their famous routines on the stage, and while they're given a warm welcome, it seems the two performers are a bit on the outs with each other. While you can't tell by watching them on stage, there's a rift between the two old friends that looks like it might tear them apart, if Oliver Hardy's failing health doesn't do so first. While the movie looks to have plenty of laughs, the core story might bring up a different set of emotions from an audience.
The first thing that needs to be said is that the two lead actors look amazing. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly both look perfect as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Reilly clearly needed some prosthetics to make the look work, but it was worth it. The clips we see of these two performing look like they could have come right out of the 1920s or 30s.
If there's a downside to the trailer, it may be that it appears to give away a lot of the story. True, the movie is based on historical events, so nothing here is technically a spoiler, but if you aren't intimately aware of the history of Laurel and Hardy then it's new to you. While there could be a lot more to the movie then what we see here, it certainly feels like we're seeing entire characters arcs over the course of the trailer.
While I'm a fan of classic film as much as I am current ones, I'm not as up on Laurel and Hardy as I probably should be. Seeing this trailer, however, makes me want to go back and watch some of those classic routines and I have to wonder if I'll be the only one. Perhaps Stan & Ollie will revitalize interest in the old comedy duo, introducing a new generation who might not have ever seen this classic team at work.
Stan & Ollie is set to premiere next month at the BFI London Film Festival. It's not scheduled for wide release until January, but I'd expect the film will see a limited release in November or December in order to qualify for awards consideration, as this certainly feels like that sort of movie.