It's a fairly reliable fact that people like familiarity and dislike change. For example, if something, such as a movie or a TV show, is famous, when we hear that title, we immediately think of that movie or show. Thus, for most people, "The Honeymooners" will bring the 1950s TV show to mind. (Or, for some unfortunate souls, they 2005 movie with Cedric the Entertainer.) So, it was surprising to come across an Irish film called The Honeymooners. Maybe the Jackie Gleason show isn't well-known in Ireland. Or maybe, The Honeymooners is better than the title which would better fit the film, "Two A*&holes in a Cottage".
As The Honeymooners opens, we are introduced to David (Jonathan Byrne), a young man who is about to be married. After a misguided toast with his best man Ben (David Nolan), where booze is spilled on David's pants, his day gets even worse when David's fiancee calls to say that she isn't coming. David confronts Fiona (Justine Mitchell), who explains that she isn't ready to get married. Shocked and dejected, David heads to the airport to attempt to go on his honeymoon on his own. While waiting, he slowly gets drunk.
Meanwhile, Claire (Alex Reid) isn't having a good day either. She has been seeing a married man who, despite his promises, refuses to leave his wife for Claire. Once at work, she throws water on a customer and is fired. To add insult to injury, it's her birthday.
While leaving work, she meets David, who has decided to get away to his family's (?) cottage in the country. But, he's too drunk to drive. David offers to pay Claire to drive him. Desperate for money, she accepts and the two travel to the isolated cottage. Once there, David continues to drink and passes out. The next day, he offers to drive Claire to the train station, but his car won't start. Claire claims that she doesn't mind and the two begin an awkward co-habitation. David is surly, hungover and doesn't have a change of clothes and Claire doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. Other than the fact that they are depressed, the two seemingly have little in common. Is there any way that they can get along?
I learned sometime ago (actually, it was 1995) never to trust an independent film which labels itself as a comedy. Why? Because these films typically aren't the least bit funny, and The Honeymooners continues that trend. The DVD box cover art proclaims "A comedy about how not to fall in love". That's great, but this film goes beyond being an independent comedy which isn't funny -- it truly isn't a comedy. This is a drama which has maybe one or two humorous moments.
For the most part, we are treated to a depressing film in which two lost souls travel to a cottage together. Once they get to their destination, David and Claire either ignore or insult one another. It's very understandable why each character is in such a bad mood, but watching two people being pissy towards one another isn't exactly entertaining. The result is a movie with many periods with little to no dialogue. When Claire and David do speak, it's either awkward or spiteful. Their encounters with some locals are confusing and seemingly pointless. To make matters worse, writer/director Karl Golden has shot the movie in a quasi-music video style, which random cuts, off-center shots, and extreme close ups. The result is a film which is boring and headache inducing at the same time.
The most frustrating thing about The Honeymooners is the ending, as the last 10 minutes of the movie are actually interesting. After sitting through the set up of an absurd premise, and then the torturous treatment of these two people, the finale introduces a nice plot twist and then an fitting resolution. I was already upset with the movie for being boring and difficult to watch, but to suddenly have a spark of life at the very end was simply insulting.
The Honeymooners runs off to the country on DVD courtesy of BFS Entertainment. The movie is letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. I couldn't find much information about this movie, but it looks as if it was shot on video. Either way, the image is not very sharp and it's essentially a mass of pixels. Some scenes are clearer than other, but most show a notable amount of video noise and artifacting. The colors are good and the green pastures around the cottage look good. Still, the whole affair looks like very poor streaming video.
The DVD features a Dolby digital stereo audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There are no subtitles on the disc, which I usually require when watching anything from England or Ireland, but the dialogue was always audible and intelligible. The music in the film sounds fine, but true stereo effects are not abundant.
The DVD contains two extra features. There are text biographies for the principal cast and crew, and text interviews with Alex Reid, Karl Golden, Jonathan Byrne, and Martin Brinkler. The other extra is the TRAILER for the movie, which is 16 x 9.
I'm not sure how to categorize or summarize The Honeymooners. The movie attempts to put a new twist on the old "opposites attract" genre, but the story features little romance. The main actors are good (and having seen Alex Reid in The Descent, it was interesting to see her in something different), but they aren't given much to work with. Again, this isn't a comedy. It's a quite, brooding drama which features an accurate portrait of depressed people...and if that sounds entertaining to you, then you just might enjoy it.