Brian & Charles

A sly and dry robot mockumentary.

In a way, “Brian & Charles” feels like a live-action “Wallace & Gromit” movie, but instead of a dog as the mute, but faithful sidekick, Brian has a robot who can talk and loves cabbages. Although when Brian comes home, he gets excited and wants a scratch like a dog. Both Wallace and Brian are British inventors with quirky gizmos and ingenuity. They’re both not afraid to try to make their lives easier.

A difference is that while Wallace is eccentric, Brian is lonely and later strict with his creation. It’s proof that Brian wants to be taken seriously, and we’re able to see that within the movie.

Using non-Wallace-&-Gromit-related material, and wanting an “Office” side, Brian is being interviewed. Either that or he’s breaking the fourth wall. I’m pretty sure he’s being interviewed, as it’s also a mockumentary with a dry sense of humor.

Using a broken washer machine, a manikin head, clothes, two different pairs of gloves, glasses, a bow tie, and a bunch of spare parts, Brian builds himself a robot. So, he could also be like Geppeto in “Pinocchio,” if he wants it/him to come to life. I’m pretty sure there’s man in a suit that looks lighter than what the robot is made from, and there’s not a single spot of CGI on it/him. Let’s start using the word “him” out of respect.

The robot comes to life, begins to speak with the name Charles Petrescu. Hence the title “Brian & Charles.” It’s also a remake of a short film directed by Jim Archer and written by David Earl (as Brian) and Chris Hayward (as Charles), and even though I haven’t seen or heard of the short, I was still able to see them expand into a feature film.

You should see how the clothes Charles wears, all out of some of Brian’s things. How he’s able to make them is beyond me, considering that he has gloves for hands. Wait a minute! How does he eat cabbages? Oh, never mind! But it’s funny because the shoe never fits and he looks zany. “Old fashioned Monty Python material,” one might say.

It would be routine for Charles to act like a child in front of Brian. He has to say “whatever” or call his owner “boring,” and throw some tantrums until he gets his way. Half of it is funny, while the other half is formulaic. But then again, it took awhile for Marvel fans to warm up to Laura in “Logan.” And plus with an electronic voice, it sounds silly.

Then, there’s the romantic relationship between Brian and the kind Hazel (Louise Brealey), thanks to Charles’ stubbornness. The lonely inventor then strikes up the courage to ask her for another get together. Or maybe even a date.

And it would be obligatory for Brian to deal with the village bully Eddie (Jamie Michie), but refuses to fight back, because he doesn’t believe in violence. You could say Eddie is like Anthony Michael Hall’s character in “Edward Scissorhands” or Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast.” Just read between the lines.

I think you get the point. It may not be a perfect movie, but “Brian & Charles” is very funny in parts, and also has its vulnerabilities that makes us care about the title characters. Earl and Hayward both write and play them with honesty and quirkiness. And I especially liked the sweetness in Brealey. You and I may not have heard of these three talents, but they still deliver the goods.

I bet the young geniuses from “More Than Robots” would enjoy this. I know I did.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Categories: comedy

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