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24 Jan 2019

A Fine Mess: Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly Are Amazing as the Titular 'Stan and Ollie'

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Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly in Stan and Ollie. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly in Stan and Ollie.

Stan and Ollie got a late (and largely unsuccessful) awards-season push, coming seemingly out of nowhere with an incredible John C. Reilly (prosthetics-aided) performance as movie legend Oliver Hardy—and Steve Coogan is just as good as partner Stan Laurel.

The film chronicles the final days in their careers as their stardom has dwindled, and they set out on a low-budget theater tour to do some of their classic bits. The tour is meant to drum up interest for a new movie, but when Hardy falls ill, they are forced to reconsider not just the tour, but their friendship.

Reilly is incredible, as is the makeup, which will have you forgetting you are looking at the Step Brothers actor. He and Coogan have all of the duo’s mannerisms nailed. They re-create Laurel and Hardy moments that will bring tears to your eyes.

While the story isn’t a giant or complicated one, the two actors make it feel mighty big and authentic. They almost had me wishing they would just go back and remake stuff like March of the Wooden Soldiers in their Laurel and Hardy get-ups. There’s a moment when Laurel daydreams about a possible scene in a new movie, featuring Reilly falling in a puddle and mimicking Hardy’s “staring at the camera” exasperation. It’s uncanny.

Stan and Ollie opens Friday, Jan. 25, at the Regal Palm Springs Stadium 9 (789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 844-462-7342); and the Century Theatres at The River and XD (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-836-1940).

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