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  Keith Lemon: The Film Celebrities Are People Too
Year: 2012
Director: Paul Angunawela
Stars: Leigh Francis, Kelly Brook, Verne Troyer, Laura Aikman, Kevin Bishop, Harish Patel, Nina Wadia, Charlotte Jackson, David Hasselhoff, Paddy McGuinness, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Jason Donovan, Peter Andre, Billy Ocean, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Keith Lemon (Leigh Francis) is enjoying carnal relations with international glamour model Kelly Brook (as herself) and just as they finish and roll over in bed, he believes he fully deserves this good fortune. When his girlfriend Rosie (Laura Aikman) tells him she doesn't mind one bit that he's cheated on her because it was a celebrity he did the deed with, he agrees this is only reasonable. And when Craig David (Francis) shows up in the bedroom with his kestrel Kes and his catchphrases, Keith realises he is having a dream and wakes up to find himself in his own bed, alone. That's when Rosie calls and he thanks her for making him a mashed potato sandwich, informing her he is off to an inventions trade fair - one he should have been at an hour ago...

Leigh Francis made his name on British television in the guise of his mysteriously-accented character Avid Merrion accompanied by sketches where he would don masks and perform bizarre parodies of celebrities. Many people found this so outlandish that they couldn't help but laugh, and he became a cult star himself, helped by the real possibility he would say something outrageous when he was invited onto television shows other than his own. Hitching his wagon to the Big Brother reality TV phenomenon, he cannily built up an audience keen to hear his smutty remarks, but he couldn't go on like this forever, and thus a change was in order. Hence he conjured up a new persona.

That was a character called the Bear, essentially Avid with a different voice and a tiny, ursine costume for Francis to be crammed into, but he didn't quite catch on in the same way. Luckily for the comedian, yet another persona was just around the corner, the small businessman Keith Lemon, who was essentially Avid with Francis' own Leeds accent but pretty much the same sex-obsessed patter, and that danger factor that he really could say anything and get away with it because it was meant to be funny. If you didn't find him funny, you might well wonder when promotion of sexual harrassment had made it to the light entertainment field as Lemon headed his own panel show on also-ran British TV channel ITV2 where he would make obnoxious suggestions to the guest stars.

Which brought us to Keith Lemon: The Film, a work that quickly became tagged with the opinion it was the worst film the United Kingdom had ever produced. There are a fair few contenders for that dubious award, and after the dust had settled the production found its rightful place in bargain bins and repeated on, you guessed it, ITV2 where the hardy few who had actually given it a try could trade war stories about how they had survived the experience of sitting through it. Not that the derision was universal, but even those who liked the Lemon programmes were hard pressed to find much good to say about its relentless parade of celebrity cameos (because if there's one thing fascinating Francis, it was celebrity) and crude, sexual humour, often mixed up together in the same scene.

The plot, such as it was, detailed Keith's failure at selling his security pole for driveways until he is offered a special phone designed by a fellow inventor who is failing too. Somehow our hero is invited onto David Hasselhoff's chat show (he's about the biggest name here, make of that what you will) whereupon adding a lemon to the phone advertises it to the masses as the latest must-have. This owed plenty to the rags to riches to rags plotline of the Steve Martin favourite The Jerk, but Francis was more interested in the low wattage glamour of placing TV personalities (of which he was one, let's not forget) in a cinema setting, and especially the thrill he felt to hear them swear. If you wanted to witness Jason Donovan say "bastards" or Verne Troyer say "motherfucker" or even that nice Nina Wadia go about as far as she could verbally, then here was the movie, sorry, film, for you. No, it wasn't especially ribtickling, but there was the curious draw of seeing inside its creator's obsessive mind where he worried at fickle fame like a tongue at a loose tooth. Music by Mark D. Todd.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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