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Movie Review:Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

Alternate Title: A Book Wrapped in a Film within a Film

Story: Wildly uneven and prolific director Michael Winterbottom hits the plus column in this delightful romp based on The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne.(For those interested in details it was published in nine volumes between the ten year period 1760 -1770).

Screenwriter Michael Hardy somehow managed to translate this stream of conscious tome into a film. It is presented as the behind the scenes making of a movie about a movie about the book. The laughs are not of the belly type but more of a constant giggle. The film seamlessly goes from scenes out of the book to real time and then back to reel time. We meet both goofy characters in present day and in18th century.

It sounds hard to follow but it is not. Just sit back and enjoy the lighthearted random messiness of life through the centuries.

Acting: Everyone stays in character throughout and applause all around to: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Jeremy Northam, Kelly MacDonald, Stephen Fry and Gillian Anderson.

Predilection: None

Critters: Lots of livestock including horses, chickens, pigs and dogs.

Food: Not much food but lots and lots of booze.

Soundtrack: Funny

Theater Audience: More people than I had expected with lots and lots of giggling.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0 - There is no squirming but I did get a surprise while researching some background on this film to discover that the very secret Skull and Bones Society is rumored to use some of the characters from Tristram Shady in its rituals. Now that's squirmy.

Drift Factor: I did not drift at all.

Predictability Level: I had not a clue where this film was headed.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. For some of Michael Winterbottom's other films you could dare to rent: 9 Songs, Code 46, In This World, 24 Hour Party People, The Claim, With or Without You,Wonderland, I Want You, Welcome to Sarajevo and Jude.

Length: Under the two hour Lobo rule.