Cute meta-movie, seems less revolutionary than it might’ve been, with its “8 1/2” references and coming soon after “Adaptation”, but it’s funnier than both of those. My favorite explanatory bit:
Tony Wilson: Why Tristram Shandy? This is the book that many people said is unfilmable.
Steve Coogan: I think that’s the attraction. Tristram Shandy was a post-modern classic written before there was any modernism to be post about. So it was way ahead of its time and, in fact, for those who haven’t heard of it, it was actually listed as number eight on the Observer’s top 100 books of all time.
Tony Wilson: That was a chronological list.
Just having Tony Wilson appear as an interviewer says more about the movie’s constant folding-in upon itself than I should bother putting into words. Winterbottom is forging a strange career making this, “24 Hr Party People”, “9 Songs”, “Code 46” and “Road to Guantanamo” all within a few years.
Movie is a chaotic in-joke with Altman sound mixing, portraying Tristram’s birth (Coogan plays Tristram, his father and himself) and conception, a battle scene, the filming of the battle scene, further research into filming battle scenes with help from a historical re-enactment society, the last-minute casting of Gillian Anderson as the romantic interest, and the final cast/crew screening of the film minus any battle or romance scenes. Plus all the behind-the-scenes stuff with Coogan getting in trouble and trying to one-up his funny co-star Rob Brydon.
I did not recognize Dylan Moran (the uptight guy torn apart at the end of “Shaun of the Dead”) as the doctor or Naomie Harris (Jamie Foxx’s wife in “Miami Vice”) as the film-buff production assistant who hits on Coogan.
Kelly Macdonald, playing Coogan’s girlfriend, was Renton’s underage girlfriend in Trainspotting and plays the female lead (?) in No Country For Old Men. “Director” Jeremy Northam is a Katy fave hunky actor whom she knows from “Emma”? Or maybe Gosford Park.
The text of the novel is searchable on google, so I could confirm that the phrase “meat curtains” does not appear.