I realize that Kevin is currently on vacation, but hey, let’s do this anyways.
Noises Off! is a movie within a play. We start off with the cast and director preparing for the very first show of a comedic play that will be touring, a play that starts out well but rapidly becomes tiresome due to the running gags of slamming doors and people missing one another. The cast stays mixed up, primarily because of a confusing (but funny) series of turns involving props going on and off the stage. The film is set in three parts: the initial rehearsal of the first act, the first act halfway through the tour and the first act at the end of the tour.
Noises Off! works for several different reasons: one, the writing is superb and two, the actors are all in fine form, including two that may surprise you: John Ritter and Christopher Reeve, who both give excellent performances. Michael Caine is cynically hilarious as the director of the play, and Carol Burnett is perfect as the touring actress of some stature who’s sick of the grind. Watching the actors run through the play is funny, because you get asides where they’ve broken character, or so on and so forth, but you also get to see behind the curtain and look at the comedy behind the comedy in what’s going on backstage. The rehearsal’s funny, but when things go wrong, they go outstandingly wrong and in a variety of hilarious ways. Watching the actors fall apart is just as humorous as watching them put their characters together.
All in all, it’s a great, witty comedic film.
Kevin, wherever you may be, thank you, good sir. I owe you a beer (figuratively, I suppose) for this one.
In fact, I liked it so much, it just scooted to the top of my “To Buy” list.