Itís time for that holiday so pack your bags weíre heading to Guest House Paradiso. Where the rooms are cold, the staff are violent and the food is radioactive. More fun than a burnt stick in the eye!Edmondson and Mayall made their names with Comic Relief and The Young Ones way back in the early 80s. The Young Ones worked pretty well because it was short, sharp and a bit different. The crucial ingredient that made The Young Ones such a success was the writing which included contributions from Ben Elton. Eltonís input kept things energetic, outrageous and politics was never that far away from the surface. The Young Ones quickly became a cult favourite.
Mayall and Edmondson have ridden on the tail of that success ever since including Filthy Rich and Catflip and Bottom. Mayall hasnít completely managed to escape his Young One persona - heís always been the same type of character like in Drop Dead Fred. Only his appearance as a paedophile on The Bill has he been different (and very disturbing he was too).
Edmondson and Mayall play Richard Twat and Eddie Elizabeth Ndingombaba, two owners of the cheapest Hotel in England. It has a nice spot by the sea, but so does the nuclear power plant thatís positioned right next door. The only ones the guest house seem to attract are the oblivious to whatís going on around them, ones looking for a cheap holiday, or those desperate to escape from the outside world. Fitting into this last category is Gina Carbonara (Mahieu) an actress, who tries to escape the paparazzi and her brutal fiancť, Gino Bolognese (Cassel). But thatís all secondary to the coming up with excuses for violence, humour, violence, the wearing of spiked rubber underwear and perhaps some more violence.
Guest House Paradiso attempts to stretch out what Mayall and Edmondson have successfully done in short episodes of TV. Gross-out comedy with over the top violence with the most unlikeable, crude characters that you can squeeze onto the screen. It may work in less than 30 minutes, but the film struggles to fill the 90 minutes of the feature with this type of humour.
It takes about an hour to actually get into the story of Miss Carbonara going to the guesthouse to escape Bologenese. Itís a long wait and a wait that is way too long. This style of comedy is just too weak to have it carry on for that long with no story. Gross out violence is fun - I like it as much as the next 12 year old - but thereís got to be a backbone to all that impertinence.
To get away with this type of film, you need to have lightning pace and a good story to keep us interested in between the gross out gags. Edmondson - who directs as well as stars - gets bogged down in the carnage and the coarseness and so consequently the story itself falls by the way side. Some of the jokes and set ups a very tired indeed.
GHP goes over the same territory as Fawlty Towers - they are big footsteps to follow - and they donít really succeed. There is a lot that reminds the viewer of the world of Basil Fawlty. Thereís the design of the building that often reminds of that infamous guesthouse in Torquay. There is also an elderly long term resident and the kitchen is a source of much frustration and brutality. The dissatisfaction and anger of the guests is also evident in both productions. What GHP lacks that Fawlty Towers had in bucket loads is a good story and a classic strong lead (maybe I mean monster) that carries the story along.GHP is amusing at first, but it overstays its welcome very quickly. On a holiday it always pays to hand over that little bit extra for a better place to stay, and with GHP there are better films to watch.