The Incredibly Strange People Show (2002)

Rating: B-

Dir: Jason De L’Orme
Star: Kevin Neil, Max Day, Hannah Roberts, Llewellyn Harris

While very obviously made on a micro-budget, there’s a daft charm about this labour of love. Our two “heroes”, Max and Moritz (Neil and Day) sit on their sofas like pseudo-intellectual versions of Beavis and Butthead, commenting as they channel surf through everything from adverts to women-in-prison movies, all painstakingly re-created by De L’Orme and his mates over the course of two years (mostly in his flat!). The quality and interest level of the individual pieces is, as you’d expect, somewhat variable, but the good thing is that you always know there’ll be another one along in a minute. As a result, the sixty minutes running time flies past, purely on a “what the hell will happen next?” level.

The actors all worked free of charge, and I’d have to say, in some cases they were hardly worth their fee, while some of the sketches linger on longer than is effective. But when it works, e.g. the kids TV segment, it’s spot-on. Such cultural references – and, indeed, some of the accents – will require deciphering for anyone brought up outside the UK; do they have TV licence inspectors anywhere but Britain? If so, this film demonstrates the perfect technique for dealing with them, and is also crammed with enough cult movie references (Eraserhead beer!) to float a video-store. While indeed Incredibly Strange, it’s also undeniably imaginative and largely entertaining, making up for in heart what it lacks in budget.