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Review: Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break (2021)

Paul Dood's Deadly Lunch Break Review


Paul Dood is a charity-shop worker that misses his most important audition ever in a talent show he was eager to participate. Being pestered by some figures that delay him to meet his personal idol Jack Tapp during his lunch break, Paul sees his mother perish after being declined and mocked by the talent show host, and sets out a vengeful plan to murder those who contributed to his delay to the audition. Five murders on a lunch break? You are in for a treat! Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a funny dark comedy with all the British charisma one needs to have a blast. An unusual choice for this year’s SXSW Film Festival, but one that is most definitely surprising in many ways.

Directed by Nick Gillespie, Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break manages to keep up the pace and never makes the viewer tired, hilariously combining stereotypical characters and giving them particular traits that make them appealing to the audience. Mixing that so sharp British dark humor with some social criticism that actually fits perfectly within its deranged narrative, the film captures a long and much needed nostalgia from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost‘s glory with Shaun of the Dead, and succeeds in entertaining the audience with its goofy characters. But the most interesting aspect of Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break (besides the shortest lunch break ever, because we never get to see Paul having his long deserving lunch!) is the social critique of a society driven by sensationalist content on social media, that is more enthusiastic about the demise and degradation of an individual than it tries to empathetically help the person who is clearly suffering on the other side. The other situation that Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break manages to achieve in a reasonable way, is how we deal with loss and our process of grieving a loved one that has passed away. Paul’s mother was everything to him, always encouraging him to be who he wants to be and supporting his flamboyant Ziggy Stardust-like alter ego that he wants to show to the world by going to this audition. The film is quite endearing in portraying this relationship and the jokes are absolutely adorable between leading man Tom Meteen and June Watson.

But Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is far from perfect, as the film needed a leading performer with a much more believable attitude. Meteen is good, but the film needed something greater. Even with all its satirical perks, its intentions are clear and the main character should have been explored with more depth as the film paves the way for the ludacrious coincidences that contribute to the “murders”, leaving the character sitting on the edge and never quite processing his mom’s loss. It’s like the film is so desperate to be funny and ridiculous that it forgets its main core: grief and the self-awareness that one’s rush to fulfill a dream ultimately sacrificed a loved one. Exploring this issue with a more emotional sensitivity would make Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break one of the most enjoyable british parodies of all-time. But even with its most unfortunate flaws, this is a comedy that will leave you entertained from start to finish and will make you laugh in a genuine way about an ill-intended society and about a lunch break where no food is seen from miles away.

With an outstanding supporting cast, with names like Katherine Parkinson, Kris Marshall, Mandeep Dhillon, Pippa Haywood, Alice Lowe and Kevin Bishop, Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a funny dark comedy, that doesn’t come up as something totally masterful, but it sure as hell is original and hilarious. A surprising addition to the SXSW Film Festival that has success written all over it.

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Title: Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break

Original Title: Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break

Director: Nick Gillespie

Cast: Tom Meteen, Katherine Parkinson, Kris Marshall, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, Kevin Bishop, Pippa Haywood, Mandeep Dhillon, Johnny Vegas, Steve Oram, Hiten Patel, June Watson.

Runtime: 100 min.

Trailer | Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break