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Review: In The Loop (2009)

June 29th, 2010 Comments off

I kind of wish there had been a bigger media push for this film. It really could have taken off in theaters.

Quite simply, there are a handful of movies that manage to just make one laugh out loud uncontrollably.  It’s more common that you run across those comedies in a theater when mob mentality has you rolling in the rows.  I last experienced this with The Hangover and, before that, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  It is that more rare comedy that can have you rolling with laughter when watching at home.  I present to you one extraordinary example of that in In the Loop.

Based on the British TV show “The Thick Of It,” the political drama is one-third The Office (UK version), one-third Curb Your Enthusiasm and one-third The West Wing.  In other words, it’s freaking brilliant, even though its not for the faint of heart when it comes to language.

The BBC program it was based on focused solely on the antics of Downing Street enforcer Malcolm Turner (Peter Capaldi, a veteran of Brit TV shows such as Torchwood: Children of the Earth, which I reviewed yesterday).  Turner is the Machiavellian, potty mouthed king of communications and the show follows his interactions with the team at the Ministry of Social Affairs.  There he deals with MP Hugh Abbot and his right hands Glenn Cullen, Terri Coverley (Joanna Scanlan)  and Oliver Reeder (Chris Addison).

In the film, director and producer Armando Iannucci keeps Capaldi’s Malcom Turner in place and reshuffles a few actors like Addison into new characters who retain some of the characteristics, despite different roles.  As impish aide Oliver Reeder, Addison plays Mr. Fix-It as a transfer into a dysfunctional foreign development ministry and its incompetent MP Simon Foster (Tom Hollander).  The story follows Foster’s role in the run-up to a UN resolution to declare war in a situation that is a thinly veiled stand-in for Iraq.  No Qumar here, either.  They just don’t overtly reference the country.

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