Eric Idle's script may pack in any amount of would-be comedic standbys - big bosoms, naked men hiding in wardrobes, national and ethnic stereotypes, bungled murder attempts, more big bosoms - but its cynical contrivance and lumbering execution fail to raise a laugh from beginning to end. The basic plot is Kind Hearts and Coronets rewritten for the mall-rat generation. Tommy Patel (Idle), a humble city broker, discovers that he's the lost Duke of Bournemouth, heir to a fortune currently hogged by American imposter Henry Maitland (Moranis). With the sinister complicity of legal vulture Shadgrind (Cleese, self-parodic), our aspirant aristo decides to bump off the Yank pretender; but before he can claim the title, there's a near-incestuous entanglement with the man-hungry widowed Duchess (Hershey) to be negotiated. Hershey's embarrassed presence, and the flailing efforts of the former Pythons, make this tedious cavalcade of thumping obviousness even more cringe-worthy than it already is.
Cast and crew
Catherine Zeta Jones