Stan and Ollie, rated PG
Stan and Ollie is a well-made, funny and at times emotional film about the final tour of the popular comedy team of Laurel and Hardy. The film is directed by Jon S. Baird and written by Oscar nominee Jeff Pope (Philomena), based on the book Laurel and Hardy: The British Tours by A.J. Marriot.
The film begins in 1937 on the set of the film Way Out West being filmed at the Hal Roach Studios. Laurel and Hardy are at the peak of their popularity, but Stan Laurel, played by two-time Oscar nominee Steve Coogan (Philomena) doesn’t feel that Roach, played by Golden Globe nominee Danny Huston (Magic City), is adequately compensating them, and he plans to push for more money for the duo. Oliver Hardy, played by Oscar nominee John C. Reilly (Chicago), doesn’t want him to push too hard, as he has debts – multiple marriages, gambling on the horses – so he is fine to keep his job with the salary just as it is. Oliver is under a different contract, and so when Stan leaves Roach, Oliver is forced to stay and partner with comedian Harry Langdon in the 1939 film Zenobia.
The movie then moves forward to 1953. The duo goes on a comeback tour of Scotland, London and Ireland to encourage a London-based film producer to finance a Robin Hood film. By this time, Hardy has gained more weight, and has heart and knee problems. Throughout the tour we see Laurel working hard on the Robin Hood film script. Continue reading