Based on the classic sit-com by the same name, Dad’s Army’s great cast is let down by a weak script and over reliance on nostalgia. Set during the Second World War, Dad’s Army tells the story of Captain Mainwaring played by Toby Jones and his platoon of misfits, which includes Sergeant Wilson, played by Bill Nighy.
As suspicious journalist Rose Winters played by Catherine Zeta-Jones comes to town to write a story on the platoon, Wilson and Jones begin competing for winters affections with amusing results. Meanwhile the platoon is tasked with finding a Nazi spy.
Toby Jones is perfect as Captain Mainwaring, some of the best laughs found in this film come from his character in his attempts to impress Rose. His comedic timing was on point throughout but as what will be a constant theme in this review just wasn’t given enough to work with.
Bill Nighy might be the film’s biggest wasted opportunity, as he was really pushed to the background in parts of this film. He seemed bored with the scenes he had and it felt like he was phoning it in.
But as little as Nighy had to do in this film, the rest of the platoon were given even less. Michael Gambon who played Private Godfrey was a familiar face in the background for big chunks, every now and then contributing an amusing line.
The film is full of nice nods to the old show and amusing moments but fails to find its own identity. The script whilst at times sharp witted, doesn’t provide enough laugh out loud moments to make it memorable. The film chooses to rather than reinvent the roles, to just imitate what came before.
The film is not without positives however Catherine Zeta Jones, whilst hardly reinventing the wheel, filled her role adequately as the manipulative Rose Winters. Blake Harrison’s portrayal of Private Pike was also a stand out, whilst his character was a bit too similar to his role in The Inbetweeners. His character provides some of the best laughs as a boy trying to prove himself a man. The scene he has with Winters in her apartment is a particular stand out.
Despite witty dialogue and a great cast, the film relies too heavily on nostalgia and it comes across as a lazy attempt at cashing in on a popular TV show, rather than breaking new ground.
By Simon Hanson