Mindhorn – silly spoof fun with deluded Alan Partridge style laughs

Mindhorn (2017) – Film Review

Mindhorn (2017) film poster

Mindhorn (2017) film poster

Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt, The Mighty Boosh) is a washed-up actor whose golden era was in three seasons of an obscure British low-budget genre cop show set on the Isle of Man called Mindhorn.

Mindhorn was an ‘enhanced’ cop, with a bionic eye which could ‘see the truth’ – a concept straight out of the 1980s.

Now slightly over the hill over 25 years later and doing advertising gigs selling orthopaedic socks he still believes he can be a success.

Thorncroft gets a chance to relaunch his career after Isle of Man police get phone calls from a murder suspect demanding to speak only to Mindhorn believing him to be real.

Living a pitiful existence after his bid for Hollywood stardom went nowhere, Thorncroft is easily persuaded to return to the island where his ex-girlfriend Pat (Essie Davis, The Babadook) and co-star on the TV series is now a TV reporter who is living with his former stuntman Clive (Simon Farnaby, The Mighty Boosh).

And the actor thinks he can resurrect his career by becoming the focus of a serious news story but quickly gets out of his depth.

From that point on things go from parody to farce very quickly as Mindhorn tries to ‘work’ with the local police to solve the case in his own ‘unique’ fashion.

Inspired Alan Partridge-style laughs for Mindhorn

Yes, it’s a familiar plot for watchers of genre television, especially Alan Partridge – Steve Coogan even has a cameo in this film as a much more successful bit part actor from the original series.

There are also strong elements of The Mighty Boosh (through co-writer and co-star Simon Farnaby who was a supporting member of the cast alongside Barratt) and the highly respected Galaxy Quest (1999) which looms over this film.

Thankfully, Mindhorn adds a distinctly British sensibility to the fun, something that was fully embraced by the audience in my preview screening.

Barratt’s portral of Thorncroft in all his vain, pompous, self-important glory is brilliant but sadly, we don’t get to see enough of the likes of Russell Tovey, Steve Coogan, or Andrea Riseborough although extended cameos by Kenneth Branagh, Simon Callow and Harriet Walter add their own laughs.

A short running time ensures that this comedy delivers laughs, generally doesn’t outstay its welcome, but does descend into a more routine comedy police conclusion at the end to wrap up the loose ends in what is sure to be a future cult classic.

Mindhorn (15; strong language, drug misuse; 89 minutes)

Summary: MINDHORN is a comedy in which a faded TV star reprises his role as a renegade detective to help the Manx police force solve a murder case.

Verdict: ***