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  Sex Lives of the Potato Men One Track Minds
Year: 2004
Director: Andy Humphries
Stars: Johnny Vegas, Mackenzie Crook, Mark Gatiss, Dominic Coleman, Lucy Davis, Kate Robbins, Julia Davis, Kay Purcell, Evie Garratt, Annette Bentley, Robert Harrison, Jenny Jay, Nick Holder, Nicola Reynolds, Nicholas Tennant, Angela Simpson, Adrian Chiles
Genre: Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Dave (Johnny Vegas) and Ferris (Mackenzie Crook) drive a lorry delivering potatoes, and think of nothing all day except sex and how to get it. That's not entirely true, they think about beer as well, but there are problems with this otherwise carefree existence. Ferris still lives with his mother-in-law, despite having split up with his wife, and although he lives there without worrying about bills, he is worn down by the older woman's insistence on giving him blowjobs which he has to reluctantly go along with. Dave, on the other hand, has just been kicked out of his house by his wife - he sees this as an opportunity to sleep around, but things aren't going to be that simple...

Written by the director, Andy Humphries, this sex comedy plumbs the depths of crudity so far that when it was released, it received some of the worst reviews of all time; it seemed that nobody liked it. However, the film became so notorious that it, ironically, made audiences curious about just how bad it was, and actually made a bit of money. Not blockbuster level, but enough to get it noticed. Apparently based on the British sex farces of the nineteen-seventies such as Confessions of a Window Cleaner or Come Play With Me, it has the same modest ambitions to aim at the most vulgar humour it can, and like it or not, you have to say it at least succeeds in that.

Lacking any real plot, the action plods along amiably, centred around the four workers at the potato delivering business - they're not called potato men because they physically resemble potatoes (you do wonder, mind). It offers a series of loosely connected sketches involving Dave and Ferris, and their workmates Tolly (Dominic Coleman) and Jeremy (Mark Gatiss), all concerning their grubby sex lives. Tolly has long split from his wife, but is obsessed with the time when she used to apply strawberry jam to herself during lovemaking, and those jam and fishpaste sandwiches aren't satisfying him.

Jeremy, on the other hand, has been dumped by his girlfriend Ruth (Lucy Davis), on account of him being a compulsive liar, which has led him to stalk her. He ends up kidnapping her cute little dog, meaning to execute the creature, only to have his heart melted when it shows affection towards him. It's this curious mix of relentless bad taste and shabby sentiment, which is never laid on too thick, that sums up the underachieving tone of the film. Dave, for instance, misses his wife more than he lets on, and finds he wants a proper conversation rather than non stop sex.

This doesn't stop him trying a threesome, but he is disappointed to find the other members of the trio will be a man and a woman, instead of the two ladies he was hoping for. Dave and the other bloke have mundane chats about where they parked, and it's this relentlessly prosaic nature of the comedy that does, believe it or not, raise a few laughs. A subplot about a fatal car crash and a revenge attack aside, Sex Lives of the Potato Men isn't mean-spirited or nasty, with the result that its main characters are surprisingly, doggily likeable (and not only the dogs).

Another thing you notice is that there is no nudity, unlike your typical seventies Robin Askwith epic, and all the sex is nothing but a joke - how very British. But like you typical Askwith epic, it features plenty of TV faces. Idiotic it may be, with its gags about old ladies gazing longingly at cocks or bizarre voyeuristic practices between a brutish husband and his slutty wife, but it's no worse than intended. If your expectations are low (how could they be otherwise?), you might even enjoy it, particularly if you have a sense of humour that embraces cheerful ribaldry - it's a British tradition, after all. Funniest bit: the unexpected appearance of TV presenter Adrian Chiles. Music by the Super Preachers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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