A Family Affair (2024) – Film Review

A Family Affair Film Review

Director: Warren Fischer
Cast: Joe Wilkinson, Laura Aikman, Jane Asher
Certificate: 15

By Roger Crow

I’ve long been a fan of Joe Wilkinson, one of many highlights of sublime slow-burn sitcom Him and Her, and of course, he propped up countless seasons of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Okay, you might not like his brand of comedy, but that’s the thing about rib-tickling; one person’s pie-in-the-face hilarity is another’s idea of torture.

So whether you like new comedy A Family Affair* or not, is a little like picking a pair of shoes off the shelf at random. They might fit. They might not.

*This is not to be confused with the namesake Zac Efron romcom also released this year.

A Family Affair Film Review

“Neck-deep in debt”

The setup is simple. Joe is a hapless manager at a wellness retreat who has a gorgeous partner, and is neck-deep in debt. He’s surrounded by works of art, but in an attempt to scupper a pending auction to buy the place, he decides to deface them.

Orbiting around him are relatives; a gold-digging blonde who seduces rich men for cash; a zen-loving specialist; a guest who has trouble keeping his clothes on; a phone-addicted alpha male, and Jane Asher as a relative who spends most of the movie smashed on a mysterious tea, which proceeds to get most of the residents equally hammered.

Is it perfect? No. But full marks to the leading man alone, who generates at least eight belly laughs in the first 10 minutes. You definitely won’t want to count down the minutes until the closing credits. No? Please yourself.

At around 71 minutes, there’s no danger of the ‘movie’ outstaying its welcome, though ‘feature-length possible sitcom pilot’ might be closer to the mark. There is potential here for a subsequent series, and while some of the scenes could be a bit snappier, as long as you give in to the madness, it works wonders.

A Family Affair Film Review

“Good fun”

And yes, there are the usual comedy tropes, like an urn of ashes that wind up in unexpected places, or faces, and the odd bedroom shenanigans reminiscent of a 1970s West End farce. But this is still good fun regardless, and rather reminiscent of a John Cleese classic from the 1970s.

In fact, I’d say, Joe Wilkinson finally gets the movie role he deserves as a Basil for the 21st century, but there’s nothing faulty about the screenplay, or the rest of the cast.  Some so-called comedies struggle to raise a couple of laughs in 90 minutes. I lost count of how many times I chuckled in the first 10 alone. This is A Family Affair to remember, and thanks to those Cannonball Run-style outtakes over the closing credits, there are more giggles to be gleaned from the final minutes.

Chances are you might not like it, which is fine. For me, it’s just grown-up fun, which might even be called an instant comedy classic.

A Family Affair will be available to own or rent from all major digital platforms in the UK & Ireland from May 20

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