August 25, 2011
The mutable faces of Martin Clunes may superglue you to the tube. Portraying Reggie Perrin, watch him shape-shift from sheepish, anxious, audacious, nauseous, pompous, bemused or bewildered to anything in between, yet another English treat for American TV.
As the grumpy healer in Doc Martin, Clune's ability and agility for facial contortion was rarely indulged. But as a demi-dippy marketing executive of Groomtech, he portrays a manufacturer of inane inventions and Grot, a line of goofy grooming aids like the super-selling uber-smelling Crap cologne. And DVDs that vanish with air contact. (Be careful what you wish for.)
His office is populated with daffy, batty, wacky, moronic manic minions. And they are not funny.
His wife, Fay Ripley as Nicola Perrin, is well played. And his fetching office mate, Lucy Liemann as Jasmine Strauss, is grounded, appealing and a fine foil for his foibles. And, maybe, even the ballast of the show - the rational reprieve whose casting cautioned that too much unadulterated farce is too much cartoonery buffoonery. (But who noticed?)
Perrin's parenthetical fantasies punctuate the plot. These imagined asides of what Reggie would really like to do (from ridiculously romantic to wickedly vicious), and one amusing animation of two turtles doing the dirty, are the only pragmatic clips in the script. What we, the audience, cheer on.
So where does Reggie Perrin fit into an entertainment archive? But for the bonking turtles and seniors, the sophomoric shenanigans are more pubescent fare. Yet it's not kids' comedy.
Maybe light merriment for a guestroom. It could be a hoot for a holiday, a plane trip or a summer vacation. For adults.
But for fans of Clune, this is a must-savor. He's a rara avis with nonpareil appeal.
And anyone would be tickled by the loony toony tortoise coitus.
On Disc 1 of this two disc set (Seasons 1 and 2), there are some behind-the-scenes still photographs - at the very least - but no other bonus features.
If you desire more, this Martin Clunes' 2009 Reggie Perrin series is a remake of the 1970's The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin starring Leonard Rossiter. It's also available on DVD.
Studio: Objective Productions / Acorn Media
Director: Tristam Shapeero & Dominic Brigstocke
Cast: Martin Clunes, Fay Ripley, Lucy Liemann, Wendy Craig, Neil Stuke, Geoffrey Whitehead, Jim Howick, Kerry Howard, Nick Mohammed, Susan Earl
Length: 341 minutes (12 Episodes, 2 Discs)
Rated: Not Rated
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Dolby Digital Mono