Star – David Tennant and Rosumund Pike.
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 95 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – U.K
Awards – 1 Wins & 3 nominations
Amazon – £4.00 DVD £7.52Blue Ray
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So the first feature film from Andy Hamilton, that little dwarf fellow from Have I got News for You, working alongside his TV writing partner Guy Jenkins, the pair who bought us stuff like Drop the Dead Donkey and Outnumbered and worked on Smith & Jones and Not the Nine O’clock News. Its pretty amazing career for him as he only has two thumbs and two fingers in total.
What we did on Our Holiday borrows heavily in style and verbosity from Outnumbered and although that meticulous middle-class sitcom is annoying to some that style is toned down here some so no need to worry. This is a surprise little gem. The funny and articulate kids are again present but there are more adults this time around to dilute them some, well known ones to, the beautiful Rosumund Pike, the hammy David Tennant and comics Billy Connelly and Ben Miller (the annoying bloke in the Tesco Christmas adverts). Four of the cast have appeared in David Tennant’s Doctor Who.
• David Tennant as Doug McLeod
• Rosamund Pike as Abi McLeod
• Billy Connolly as Gordie McLeod
• Celia Imrie as Agnes Chisholm
• Ben Miller as Gavin McLeod
• Emilia Jones as Lottie McLeod
• Amelia Bullmore as Margaret McLeod
• Annette Crosbie as Doreen
• Lewis Davie as Kenneth McLeod
• Ralph Riach as Jimmy Cazzarotto
• Ben Presley as PC McLuhan
• Bobby Smalldridge as Mickey McLeod
• Alexia Barlier as Françoise Dupré
• Ryan Hunter as Frazer
• Harriet Turnbull as Jess Mcleod
• Jake D'Arcy as Smokey
Doug McLeod (David Tennant) and his gorgeous wife Abi (Rosamund Pike) put on a brave face following a marriage separation to travel to the Scottish Highlands for Doug's father Gordie's (Billy Connolly) 75th birthday. Gordie has terminal cancer so Doug's brother, millionaire Gavin McLeod (Ben Miller) has put on a lavish party for him at his huge mansion, probably Granddads last party, Gavin inviting all the important people in the neighborhood alongside friends and relatives.
The McLeod’s kids, 10-year old Lottie (Emilia Jones), 6-year-old Mickey (Bobby Smalldridge) and 3-year-old Jess (Harriet Turnbull) are packed into the car and they hit the road for the Highlands. The precocious Lottie is not happy and tells everyone at the party that will listen dad had an affair, which led to Abi moving out and taking legal proceedings against him so the weekend a charade not to upset granddad. But she wants to move south and take the kids with her. There is clearly a tense rivalry between Doug and Gavin too and it has not gone unnoticed.
Gordy McLeod: The truth is, every human being on this planet is ridiculous in their own way. So we shouldn't judge, we shouldn't fight, because in the end... in the end, none of it matters. None of the stuff.
Granddad, despite being extremely ill, is a fun-loving chap to the end and encourages his grandkids, particularly Lottie, to let go of their parent’s squabbles and troubles and enjoy life to the full. While Gavin, Doug, Abi and Gavin's wife Margaret (Amelia Bullmore) fuss around and make the final arrangements for the party, Gordie mischievously takes the three children to the beach in the Land Rover, Lottie driving. Gordie reveals that he is descended from the great Vikings of the north and some were buried on the headland, Mickey particular excited about that fact; granddad revealing his wish to be buried 'the Viking way' by being cremated and sent out to sea in flames. He may yet get that wish of a ceremonial burial when he pops his clogs on the beach, the kids all alone and pondering a raft and some fire. This will not be what mum and dad and Gavin will want to hear when they ask where granddad is.
Funny, poignant and beautifully written is the best way to describe this cultured British comedy. I laughed and chuckled away all through it and the kids are a delight. I tend to switch Outnumbered off
As it is a bit too full on as a sitcom and the whole thing with the kids being more articulate and a aware than their parents got a bit wearing after a couple of episodes. As I said up top, that stuff has been toned down here and fits snuggly into this enjoyable family comedy in the truest British sense, a touch of farce and the off vicar losing his trousers, of course.
Billy Connelly was actually diagnosed with Parkinson’s and his cancer just before filming started and so added extra pathos to his performance, perhaps contemplating his own death through his role. The warm cheeky Scottish accent is always something special in film and on T. He has done a good mix of serious and comic films over the years but even his serious films he brings that comedic wink. But the kids own this and only Billy gets some screen time as the rest of the adults become rather two dimensional. I guess that’s the point. While adults flap and whine about everything to do right by the kids the kids have honesty to them in that bubble we create around them. That also creates space for some funny lines and situations.
For its £2 million budget it did a useful £8 million back. For a British low budget film in an American multiplexed owned industry packed full of American films, that’s good money. It did well because of word of mouth, simple as. I don’t recall seeing a trailer to this film. It’s much better than most and I think you guys would really enjoy this. It’s a comedy aimed at an adult middle-class audience to be fair and full of those smug characters that are probably watching it.
Imdb.com –6.9 /10.0 (13,134votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 71% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 54% critic’s approval
-Behind the Scenes-
Cast and crew josh away about their movie.
Quite a few as a lot of show off in the cast
Boston Globe & Mail –‘Do we want to spend 95 minutes of our summer holiday watching a film about a young, squabbling, dysfunctional British family on a sham trip? Yes, we do’.
Toronto Star –‘There are a few amusing moments and flashes of charm but this Holiday is an uneven trip, with underwritten adult characters and a strange third act involving a poke at misguided social services’.
The Mail –‘What We Did On Our Holiday sets up a sturdy comic scenario and then proceeds to head in another direction altogether-one that's nearly impossible to anticipate, making the film much more of a goofy delight than would have seemed likely at the outset’.
Village Voice –‘Jones and Connolly have terrific chemistry, particularly as Lottie works through the fact that adults encourage dishonesty and lying when it suits their own needs, and that secrets are more pervasive than openness’.
NZ Herald –‘Luckily for us, and unlike their bickering and scripted parents, the kids are largely left to improvise their parts and the result is mostly charming, sometimes hilarious’
The Mirror –‘What We Did on Our Holiday emphasizes the celebration of life through masterful British comedy...’
The Electric Cinema
47 - 49 Station Street
Tel: 0121 6437879
The Electric Cinema is the UK's oldest working cinema having opened in 1909, it's now over 100 years old. Offering a completely different experience from your average blockbuster Odeon, it's very quaint, interesting and personal.
It only has two screens with less than 80 seats in each so I would recommend advance booking to avoid disappointment. The majority of the seats are just like regular flip-up cinema seats, however these are a bit small. So if you should find yourself sitting between two men who like to stick out their knees and elbows, like I did, you might find yourself a little uncomfortable.
However, there is the option of booking a sofa! Tickets to sit in the sofa are twice as much as the regular seats at £13.50 per person but it's great for a special treat. The sofas are made of worn in leather and are really squishy and comfortable; just like being at home. Be careful not to nod off, though, as they're a little TOO comfortable!
The other benefit of having a sofa is that you can get a waiter service on your drinks and snacks. When you arrive, you are given a phone number and a menu. All you do then is text your order to the phone number whenever you like and they will bring it right to your seat, charging pre-determined debit or credit card which you give them details for when you arrive, if you wish to use this service.
The range of snacks isn't in the realm of your regular hot dogs and nachos, but rather you get choose slices of cake, bowls of nuts and even slices of ham! Drinks include wine and bottles of lager.
The cinema shows a range of films from current blockbusters, indie films and even classics; I went to see Metropolis here, the original 1920s film with extra added footage. So if you keep checking the schedule, you're bound to find something you like. Unfortunately, I was sitting in a small seat for Metropolis so I had to get up to stand at the back and have a stretch as the film is very long. I would definitely recommend a sofa for a longer film.
Ladies toilets are downstairs in the basement, so if you're viewing the screen on the first floor, you have to go down two floors to get there which is quite a trek. The toilets are quite basic and a bit creepy, but otherwise clean and fully functioning.
This isn't the kind of cinema you would want to go to for your regular cinema trip, but I would definitely recommend for a special treat.
Within Birmingham City Centre there are no less than three (maybe more!) huge great multi screen cinemas, boasting the best of surround sound and such massive high quality images that youre practically experiencing the movie of your choice in 3D. A lovely range of food and snacks is available, usually along with a gift store selling such overpriced items as Mickey Mouse socks or a poster of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.
So when I won a family ticket to see a kids film preview at a cinema Id never heard of, located in one of towns shabbiest streets, I was not impressed. However, while looking for directions to the wretched place I discovered that although its not a flash cinema its actually a little piece of Birminghams history. Opening in 1909, The Electric Cinema is the oldest working cinema in the city and is also the ONLY independent cinema in the region which hasnt been taken over by one of the big boys.
I immediately saw this tatty little tucked away cinema as something much more interesting than visiting a uniform big screen venue. And boy, does it look tatty. Now I know how old and unchanged the building is I can appreciate how solid and true to its history the outside of the building is; I could imagine the place not having changed too much since it opened nearly 100 years ago. Its a lovely looking place when viewed with this attitude and the only thing wrong with the cinema is its location. Id imagine back when it opened town wasnt such a built up area and The Electric Cinema would have been something of a centre piece for the citys population, but now this cute little building looks out onto a hideous multi storey car park and a half demolished (and apparently forgotten about) shopping centre. Its a shame cos this place could really thrive if it was picked up and moved to a nicer spot!
I was surprised as I walked through the old fashioned glass and brass front door at how small the foyer is. On one side is a small art deco bar and the entrance to Screen 1 is directly in front of you, with a tiny ticket office squeezed alongside the bar. Its so quaint; I fell in love with the cinema there and then. The foyer is decorated in pleasant neutral colours with various old fashioned movie style photographs and advertisements. Upstairs is Screen 2, yep this cinema only has two screens. Welcome to the good old days.
Anyway, you can only watch one screen at a time and I was more than happy with our seating in Screen 1. What really makes The Electric Cinema stand out from the crowd is its fabulous seating arrangement. Standard, although old fashioned styled, cinema seats make up most of the room but the back four or five rows have been removed to create a kind of living room environment. Plush two seater leather sofas and small tables are arranged along with vases of flowers and other nice touches; we were lucky and our prize tickets were for the sofa seats and, get this, we got to use text waiter service!
Text waiter service is amazing; Ive never seen anything like it. When you first go to the bar youll be told all the ins and outs and given a mobile phone number to text when you want your next drink. Simply text your drinks and snacks order along with your seat name (the sofas are all named after big Hollywood stars) to this number and itll be delivered to your table within minutes. Talk about class warfare, the waiter service is only available to those in sofa seats and my 10 year old commented about the plebs in the standard seats who had to go to the bar themselves! Mind you, after texting twice I started to feel like I was taking the pee and ended up trekking to the bar myself! You pay for your drinks at the end of the film with no extra cost for the running about the poor barman had to do, can you imagine asking the Odeon to open a tab for you AND bringing you top ups all the way through the film?
The sofas are really comfortable, those kind of seats where you can feel yourself sinking further and further down into the cushions as you relax. I also tried out one of the standard seats and theyre also lovely to sit in with thick springy cushions and wide backs.
Snacks in The Electric Cinema are short and sweet; you wont be filling your belly in here, although they do provide a tempting array of sweet treats for you to munch while watching the film. They serve a delicious home made ice-cream from JustRachel Icecreams; I had a wonderful butterscotch and orange ice-cream and it tasted fabulous, only £2 for a decent sized dish which is something of a bargain compared to most other cinemas. They also stock a range of cakes, which appear to change regularly and are marked on a chalk board, posh chocolates and a selection of savoury nibbles (served in a real bowl!) such as tortilla chips, nuts and mixed fruit. A charming little menu. What struck me is the fact that everything available is so reasonably priced, perhaps Im used to paying a small fortune for mass produced snacks in the larger cinemas but I was surprised at how deliciously fresh the food tasted and how cheap it was.
Because of the fact that The Electric Cinema has only 2 screens, theyre obviously limited to how many films they can show at any one time. They do show everything which is being shown at the larger cinemas, only they have to have a strict programming schedule. If youre planning on a visit Id definitely recommend phoning beforehand to check whats showing and work your trip around the time of the film you want to watch.
Tickets to watch a film in The Electric cinema are priced depending on the seating you want. Standard seating costs £6 per ticket, while to book a sofa will set you back £12 per person and you cant sit just one on a sofa, there must be two of you which means the total cost is £24 per sofa. A pretty expensive way to enjoy the latest blockbuster, but once youve sampled a film in the luxury of a leather sofa youll never want to go back to flip-up cinema seats again! Id recommend booking a sofa by simply calling the cinema before your visit as Id imagine they fill up pretty quickly, especially at the weekend performances.
Wheelchair access is fine, although again Id recommend booking before just turning up as youll be given an appropriate seat if you tell them about any mobility problems you may have. Doorways are wide and steps are kept to an absolute minimum, because of the small size of the building you may get into some difficulty if you have a bulky wheelchair but providing you have someone with you (or dont mind asking a member of staff) youll be fine.
So go and take a look at Brums oldest cinema, youll never want to be a sheep in the Odeon again!
The Electric Cinema
47 49 Station Street
Tel: 0121 6437879