What I really enjoy about Not Going Out is that, no matter what the backing scenario for a particular episode is, it can generate 10-12 really solid laughs per instalment. For want of a better way of putting it, the ‘com’ always takes priority over the ‘sit’.
For the latest episode, Movie, that equation is switched around. Much of the reason for that is that Lee Mack and co-writer Daniel Peak have come up with an idea for the episode that’s grounded in lots of comedy potential. Namely, that, without Lucy’s knowing, Lee rents out her flat to an American director for a movie shoot, only to discover that it’s a porn movie that he’s shooting.
As usual, they have a lot of fun with this, not least contrasting the straight-laced Tim with the shoot for the film, into which he ends up featuring. Much of the episode again leaves the excellent Sally Bretton and Katy Wix to the side, but we do get the bonus of Mike Wilmot as the suitably brash movie director.
But here’s the thing. While the episode went for broke in maximising the situational opportunities that the porn movie concept offered, I can’t help think that it’s the weakest entry of the run so far. And the reason for that is that, while the sight gags and the terrific performances from Lee Mack and Tim Vine, generated giggles, the superb array of one-liners we’ve come to expect weren’t in such bountiful supply.
To be fair, this is a bit of a churlish criticism, as Not Going Out on a day when it’s not firing on all cylinders is still a far, far sight better than any currently running British sitcom that I can think of. But then, this is a show that’s set itself very high standards, and Movie doesn’t quite live up to them.
However, there’s still little doubt that you get a good half hour of comedy here, and your ribs are still likely to be tickled. Plus, Lee Mack in his, er, ‘outfit’ towards the end of the episode beats the hanging-upside-down-being-tortured moment from the series opener.
But what I’d really like to see from the second half of this series run is a bit more Katy Wix and a bit more Sally Bretton. Because it’s when the full ensemble is firing on all cylinders, and shares enough screen time, that, for my money, the show is at its very finest.
Read our review of episode 2, Debbie, here.
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