This is just another fine movie ranked far below what it deserves.
Reviews of High Spirits by some movie critics are prime proof of the theory that "professional" movie critics often don't what they're talking about. Being quickly panned by British critics, and then dissed by their American colleagues, leads me to believe that many critics write negative reviews based on the opinions of others. In recent years, many critics seem especially to have hidden agendas, or have an axe to grind, or are pandering to special interest groups, which render their reviews worthless. Often, these critics appear to have never seen the movie they are condemning, or, worst still, are ignoring the cinematography and entertainment value based on their own petty bias. In High Spirits, some critics complained that the plot is thin, flighty and lacks realism?!?! But this is a comedy (and a very good one at that), not a serious theatrical work like as play by Shakespeare or some other artsy-f**tsy piece for the pseudo-intellectual snobs. While not perfect, it is certainly not the complete waste of time that some of these so-called critics claim it to be.
The fact is, folks, this movie is very entertaining, a real joy, from the story, to the acting, to the sets, to the special effects, etc., etc. just a pleasure (albeit a guilty one) of movie entertainment. The entire cast give an exuberant, high spirited performance (pun intended) which is sure to tickle your funny bone. Peter O'Toole is hilarious as the penny-less, hereditary keeper of the castle who is about to lose it all. But Liz Smith is a riot, playing Peter's tipsy, widowed mother who still interacts (read has sexual relations) with her dead husband and communicates with other deceased family members. Liz Smith is a thief - she steals just about every scene in which she appears. A horny Steve Guttenberg, an unfaithful Beverly D'Angelo, a rapidly decaying Daryl Hannah and a flatulent Liam Neeson give excellent performances. The pious Peter Gallagher and temptress Jennifer Tilly are terrific in supporting roles as are the remainder of the cast, who are mainly from Dublin's Abbey Theatre, except for Connie Booth (who played the housekeeper Polly Shearman in Fawlty Towers), who is an American.
Please ignore the critics on this one, folks, they are way off. This is a very funny movie, with a few semi-scary moments, that I can highly recommend to you. If you want classical drama, watch Hamlet or Otello, but if you want hardy chuckles, watch High Spirits. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Rating: 8/10 stars