Reviews | Written by Sol Harris 12/07/2022
BRIAN AND CHARLES
In 2017, David Earl and Chris Hayward released a short film showcasing their characters, Brian Gittins and Charles Petrescu. Brian and Charles have been making live appearances on the comedy circuit for years now and fans of Ricky Gervais’ work will likely be familiar with Brian Gittins thanks to the character appearing in some of his projects, including both Cemetery Junction and After Life.
The short, also called Brian and Charles, came seemingly out of nowhere and, frankly, it was absolute dynamite. Funny, quirky, charming, unique and low-fi to the point that it was difficult to not feel a huge sense of admiration for their accomplishment. Fast forward five years and the short has been turned into a feature film. So how does the movie stack up?
In finding material to fill roughly eight times the length of the short - not to mention finding the budget to actually film it - the new, feature-length Brian and Charles finds itself spread a little bit thin and, as a result, the movie often manages to somehow feel smaller in scope than the original short.
That said, at the heart of this project are these two characters and their relationship and that still works beautifully. Fitting right into the conventional father-son and boy-and-his-dog tropes, this story about a man who builds himself a robot friend, only for the robot to want to explore the world is incredibly sweet and embraces kindness in a way that evokes the likes of Paddington.
While some of the other newly introduced characters leave a bit to be desired, it’s a joy to watch Brian and Charles interact whenever they’re on screen and one can only hope that this film isn’t the last we’ll see of the unlikely double act.
Brian and Charles is in cinemas now.