Just like the batty Isle Of Man detective show with the same name, Mindhorn is hilariously bad. Its nonsensical plot has some serious holes and there are several sub plots that never really go anywhere but strangely, this doesn’t detract too much from the fact that Mindhorn is a funny film. As a British comedy, its not at the same heights as say Shaun Of The Dead or Hot Fuzz but it has enough jokes spread throughout its 85 minute length to almost overlook its jarring plot issues.
The story follows Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) 25 years after the brief success of hit show Mindhorn. A cheesy 1980s detective show who’s lead man can literally “see the truth” with a robotic eye. Out of work after his arrogance alienated everyone he worked with and with a dead-end acting career, he hits a break when a serial killer phones the police and tells them he won’t talk to anyone but Detective Mindhorn whom he believes is a real person. What follows is one hilarious stunt to the next as Thorncroft tries to get his career back on track by using the serial killer as a claim to fame.
The film, up until around the hour mark, is pretty solid and builds up for a decent climax. Unfortunately, the film feels tries to be a little too clever and throws a few twists that don’t really fit with the theme and leave character motives and progression at the door. Perhaps this is a little unfair – after all this is a comedy and character development isn’t exactly at the height of one’s expectations. However, judged against comedies like The Hangover, Shaun Of The Dead, 21 Jump Street etc. it just doesn’t have the same finesse or flair to pull off character development like these films do and this is where Mindhorn stumbles.
Its an interesting one though because although the film devolves into a cheesy, hilariously crazy free for all at the end, I can’t work out if this was done intentionally to link back to the theme and feel of the 1980s Mindhorn show or whether the filmmakers genuinely just thematically had a change of heart midway through and thought let’s just go nuts. Regardless, the final third of the film is where the majority of problems lie and the frustrating sub plots that never really go anywhere or feel under-developed left me questioning why they were even included in the first place.
Having said that though, if you’re after a comedy where you don’t have to think too hard and just want a good laugh, Mindhorn will probably be the film for you. The laughs come thick and fast and the humour is surprisingly varied ranging from slapstick, sarcasm, cringe-inducing and all the way through to a tiny touch of dark comedy. It’s done with enough class that I wish the story had the same attention paid to it. As it stands, its a little too easy to see the truth – Mindhorn is an average comedy that nails the laughs but not much else.