Yesterday afternoon I found myself ambling down memory lane. Memory lane, in this instance, was little more than broken glass, used condoms, and dog shit, because memory lane was, in fact, a screening of Kevin & Perry Go Large, a film I'd not seen since I was a pre-teen. Back then, I thought it was really funny. Now, I'm not so sure.
Of course, back then a film in which the two lead characters are in a near permanent state of priapic-anticipation—I do wonder, despite myself, how the erections were achieved. Did, as I like to imagine, Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke insist on hyper-realistic 9" dildos, repleat with bulging veins and a gnarled, weighty glans, or did a Lucozade bottle suffice?—was an immediately amusing prospect. As a teenager, when you begin to feel those now-familiar stirrings yourself, you want all the reassurance you can get that the occasional stray stiffy does no one any harm. K&P is filled with rogue boners, stonk-ons are its sole unit of currency, and everything flows through the phallus. Perhaps this penile preoccupation explains why the film's writers—Enfield and Fast Show scriptwriter David Cummins—forgot to insert a single actual gag into the thing.
And back then I'd never known the pleasure of frequenting a nightclub. Especially not an Ibizan nightclub. What, I thought, could be more glamorous than going out clubbing in Ibiza? Years on I'd find out that going clubbing in Ibiza is as much fun as scrubbing John Torode's oven with your own tongue, but back then, when I was young and the world was brighter, it seemed like everything I'd ever want. The film, viewed through unthinking eyes, had it all: sun, sea, sand, sangria, shagging, and superstar DJs. I probably wept tears of joy as I sat with my face millimeters away from the screen, straining my ears to hear the thing over the sound of my own beating heart, careful not to wake my parents up. This week, I wept tears of boredom.
What did I think of K&PGL, 15 years on from my first viewing?
The short version: Kevin & Perry Go Large is an utterly atrocious film that fails to generate a single laugh in its mercifully short 82 minute running time and will hopefully never be viewed by anyone ever again. I would bankroll an initiative to see every physical copy of the film destroyed, and to have it banned from the internet.
The longer version: Kevin & Perry Go Large is more than just a painfully unfunny comedy movie that could only ever appeal to 12 year old boys. It isn't just a dismal gross-out flick that's about as transgressive as a packet of Rich Tea biscuits eaten in front of a Heartbeat boxset, nor is it simply another example of British TV comedies trying (and failing) to do their thing on the big screen. No. K&PGL is pure proof that clubbing should never be the focus of a feature film. Ever.
There's a few reasons for this. The first is that the actual clubbing scenes in this piece of utter shit manage to making going out look completely devoid of any pleasure whatsoever. There's no hint of excitement or danger, no sensation that going to a club is actually worth doing when you could sit in and play cards instead, and oddly for a film that's literally all about sex, not even the merest whiff of sexuality—the death knell of any decent club. Instead, we're treated to curiously sterile scenes of "mad for it" clubbers sort of semi-dancing to progressive house, all of them looking like they're more concerned about rising jetski insurance prices than having a great night out.
Trying to capture what makes clubbing so fun on screen just isn't possible—even the rawest handheld footage that clutters up the digital drain of YouTube like so many rave-ready pubes, doesn't quite do it, and that's actual footage of actual people actually enjoying themselves when clubbing was probably actually good, rather than Harry fucking Enfield and Kathy Burke noncing about in baseball caps. Like a summer's morning spent frolicking in a meadow with a new lover, the pair of you gorging on crusty bread and red hot lust, a good night out isn't translatable into anything that pertains to permanency. It exists only in the mind.
Also, I have a few questions I want answered.
- What is Kevin's look meant to be? He's sort of a cross between a ginger Ozzy Osbourne and a second year Camberwell art school student who spends most of his student loan on 30g pouches of Golden Virginia and breakbeat-techno records at Rye Wax. I don't understand it.
- Why didn't I remember that the film opens with a scene in which Kevin uses the execution of Anne Boleyn as the source material for a wank? How did I forget that he envisions himself as the executioner himself, willed into releasing Henry's ex-wife after she begins fellating him by the gallows? How did I also fail to recall the fact that just ten minutes after this, Kevin slips into another morality-related fantasy—this time it is his own funeral. I think we might have to give Dr. Freud a quick call here!
- Towards the start of the film Kevin and Perry buy a porn mag together. The porn mag is the reason they decide to go to Ibiza, because the porn mag informs them that the women in Ibiza are up for shagging, and they want to start their shagging lives. This is fine. My question is: would two teenage boys really go halves on a porn mag? How does the custody of the magazine work? Do they swap pages? Alternate weekends?
- Has any film in history used the word "shagging" so liberally? It must fall from the potty-mouths of both Kevin and his luckless pal Perry hundreds of times. Further to that, do people still say "shagging" these days? Do the nations feral youths congregate in parks to shag themselves silly? Do swimming pool changing rooms echo with the unmistakable sound of a good hard shag? Or is shagging the sole preserve of blokes with perms, and ample-bosomed barmaids?
- What's up with the preoccupation with virginity? The dorky duo are haunted by their lack of sexual prowess, and the whole world seems to exist purely to remind them that they've not yet gotten over that particular hurdle. Virginity crops up so often that it just becomes creepy, frankly. Sure, teenagers are obsessed with losing it, but they have the excuse of being actual teeeangers, not adults impersonating teenagers by way of Harry Hill impersonating Beavis and Butthead.
- How did they make a bank robbery so boring? Honestly, bank robbery scenes must be so, so, so hard to do badly: you are literally filming a fictional version of one of the most exciting things that could ever happen. In this case, Kevin thwarts an attempted bank robbery because simply looking at the female bank teller gives him an erection, with his no doubt well-worn bellend incidentally giving the panic button a good bashing. Kevin and Perry get a big fat cash reward and thus can to go to Ibiza to be superstar DJs.
- Why was I so sure that Eyeball Paul himself—named, presumably after the really, really, really, really, really funny bit where he, get this, pours vodka directly into his own eyes, and who looks like Varg Vikernes while sounding like Roy "Chubby" Brown—was played by Paul Kaye, the star of the BBC drama Two Thousand Acres of Sky, when, in fact, the unpleasant disc jockey is actually inhabited by Rhys Ifans? How could I have been so stupid? How? How?! HOW!?!?
- Is Perry's rapacious desire to record everything that happens on their holiday—including Kevin's parents having sex, which for some reason ends up being sampled by Paul and played over the speakers at Amnesia and then for some other reason Kevin and Perry get to DJ and then the film sort of just ends, but not before our intrepid heroes get their end away on the beach at fucking last—a subtle comment on surveillance culture?
- Why? All of it, why?
Please send me your answers. Thanks.