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A Cock and Bull Story

Released: 2005

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 1 hr 34 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Shirley Henderson, Keeley Hawes, Gillian Anderson

A Cock and Bull Story is a British comedy directed by Michael Winterbottom. Featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing themselves as egotistical actors during the making in a screen adaptation of Laurence Sterne's 18th century novel Tristram Shandy.

By the end of the movie you have so grown to love the characters that you're quite sorry to have to bid them adieu.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

What a treat! In easily his best film since 1996's JUDE, director Michael Winterbottom's TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK & BULL STORY is a wild ride. A comedy that's structured as a very self-aware movie within a movie, it features lots of talking to the camera and sharing of all the actors' neuroses.

As himself, Steve Coogan is busy filming what is said to be an unfilmable novel, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman," which is set a few centuries back. Playing Tristram Shandy as well as Walter, Tristram's father, Coogan plays a character much like himself. Tristram talks to the audience, complaining about the child actors chosen to play him in younger ages. In the present, Coogan worries aloud to Jenny (Kelly Macdonald), his girlfriend and the mother of his child, that his nose looks too much like a character actor's nose rather than that of a lead actor. A rival actor named Rob Brydon, who plays Toby Shandy in the movie within the movie, is obsessed with the color of his teeth. Brydon insists that they are so off-white that they could be called Tuscan sun and be a suitable color to paint a children's nursery.

Coogan is experiencing a "Jenny" predicament, since another Jennie, played fetchingly by Naomie Harris, is a member of the crew who is making eyes at him. Off the set, they've been starting to make their own little romance.

We hear a lot about Coogan's career, which is a blend, one supposes, of fact and fiction. That he starred recently in AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS opposite Jackie Chan is certainly true, but the scandal of the lap dancer in the hotel is probably just artistic license.

The movie, especially the dialog, is a lot of fun. "I am getting ahead of myself. I am not yet born," Tristram tells the audience when he realizes that he is getting his narrative mixed up. Another time, Gillian Anderson, who is flown in from America in order to save the movie and play a character called Widow Wadman, tells the man of her dreams, "I'm quite perspiring with anticipation."

By the end of the movie, which jumps back and forth in time and features a host of excellent supporting actors, you have so grown to love the characters that you're quite sorry to have to bid them adieu.