tue 23/07/2024

Get Duked! review - briefly endearing, then a chore | reviews, news & interviews

Get Duked! review - briefly endearing, then a chore

Get Duked! review - briefly endearing, then a chore

A likable cast goes down for the count in coming-of-age misfire

Deliverance: the young leads of 'Get Duked!'

An endearing cast does what it can to keep Get Duked! aloft until writer-director Ninian Doff's movie sinks under the weight of too many wearisome shifts in tone. A coming-of-age film that is alternately silly and sentimental while wanting at times to be scary as well, the result leaves no doubt as to the talents of its gifted young cast.

Rather more debatable is music video alum Doff's control over material that lurches all over the map, buoying up the audience on the back of some fresh-faced leads before devolving into absurdity by the final reel. 

The setting suggests an odd amalgam of at least a half-dozen previous titles, and viewers are free to cite their own preferred point of reference. Suffice it to say that there's something immediately familiar about the notion of three wayward Scottish lads sent into the Highlands without telephone reception (imagine!) so that they can win an award named for the Duke of Edinburgh, aka Prince Philip. Necessary for success are equal measures teamwork, orienteering, and foraging, so it doesn't help matters early on when one of these wayward teens takes immediate offense at the word "orienteering" which he seems to confuse, for some unknown reason, with the word "Oriental", which this character isn't, by the way. (It's that kind of film.) 

Eddie Izzard (L) and Georgie Glen in 'Get Duked!'The scallies are joined by way of corrective measure by an indrawn goody two-shoes called Ian (Samuel Bottomley), whose aspirations toward law school set him apart from fellow adventurers like Dean (Rian Gordon), whose life as a factory worker seems preordained, or the livewire William (the charismatic Viraj Juneja), a hip-hop devotee who goes by the moniker DJ Beatroot and sounds as assured of his own eventual success as the others are tentative. Completing the group is Duncan (Lewis Gribben), who has barely begun hiking before getting electrocuted. Nor does their map turn out to be much use once it is ripped and pressed into service so that Dean can roll a joint. Drugs are essential to this quest: why else, after all, would their given terrain be called the Highlands (hah!). 

"Good luck, you'll need it," sneers the boys' teacher, Mr Carlyle (Jonathan Aris), who is fairly quickly dispatched or maybe not: one mustn't give the game away. What can be said is that the hardscrabble "yoof" soon fall foul of some gun-toting, poshly spoken adults that include a masked Eddie Izzard (pictured above, with Georgie Glen as his wife), who are there to tilt proceedings in the direction of a horror movie while allowing for some eleventh-hour sermonising about the class divide. Izzard is a game presence to be sure (and gets a producing credit), but isn't stretched by this assignment in the slightest. 

Busy calling out the younger generation as "vermin", Izzard's so-called "Duke" and his ilk are there to be taught a lesson about the precariousness of privilege. The ending serves to ennoble these onetime reprobates, who suddenly constitute the happiest-seeming gang of four. I didn't buy much of Get Duked!, I have to say, but in the ongoing competition that is any actor's career, I wish its central quartet all the luck in the world.

Eddie Izzard is a game presence, to be sure, but isn't stretched by this assignment in the slightest


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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