For over a decade, British comedian David Earl has played the character Brian Gittins, a shaggy, unfiltered eccentric whose prickly stance arouses pity and unease. In the pseudo-documentary ‘Brian and Charles’, an unevenly sentimental heartthrob directed by Jim Archer, Brian finds himself depressed and lonely in a corner of rural Wales, despite the implicit presence of documentary filmmakers, whom he addresses directly as he stands in front of the camera. state. There’s no apparent reason for the mockumentary element, though it gives Earl a chance to get in front of the lens.
To restore his low and lonely state, Brian builds a robot. Let Silicon Valley chase a sleek future of frictionless rectangles and orbs: Brian’s creation, Charles, is a towering, homemade mess with gray hair and a dizzying shuffle that gives the impression of a retired sheepherder. Chris Hayward, who wrote the film with Earl, plays the bot and exudes beautiful vocal and physical energy from a costume that appears to be constructed from a cardboard box covered with a vest, with a mannequin’s head on a pole protruding from the sticking out at the top. He tests the audience’s ability to be invested in an unashamedly ridiculous concoction—and he succeeds better than the human caricatures that make up the rest of the ensemble, from a brute (Jamie Michie) to a potential love interest (Louise Brealey) who stayed smiling patiently as the robot teaches Brian social skills.
As Brian and Charles get used to each other, the story seems to revolve around Brian the jerk who realizes he is the cause of his own isolation. (Charles helps in one scene by blurting, “You’re boring!”) All too quickly, this intriguing psychological investigation turns into a programmatic geek-vs-bullying story based on pushing the easiest emotional buttons.
Brian and Charles
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. In theatres.