- Movie Rating -

Get Duked! (2020)

| August 26, 2020

Oh!  How I wanted to love Get Duked! 

How I wanted this to be the next great Scottish comedy, to rise to the ranks of those that have come before, like Whiskey Galore!, Local Hero, Gregory’s Girl, Comfort and Joy, Restless Native and Trainspotting.  I wanted to love it like I loved Bill Forsythe’s That Sinking Feeling about a group of half-wit thieves who steal a warehouse full of kitchen sinks only to find that there isn’t much of a black market for kitchen sinks.

I was cheering for Get Duked! to work.  Alas, it doesn’t rise up to great heights.  Great Scottish comedies are defined by colorful characters, ridiculous plots and an energy and pacing that doesn’t feel like it comes from anywhere else in the world.  Get Duked! has the right tone and the right characters but sadly, I wasn’t laughing.  I smiled a great deal, particularly a background gag in which a sheep is plowed over by a runway van, but in trying to make the film anarchic, it loses footing and becomes a random series of stuff.  Things happen but we’re not invested.

The story is there.  Get Duked! involves adolescent trio of juvenile delinquents – Dean (Rian Gordon), DJ Beatroot (Juneja) and Duncan (Lewis Gribben)- who are set out on a trek across the Scottish Highlands as part of the Duke of Edenborough Annual.  Perhaps thankfully, they also been saddled with Ian (Sam Bottomley) who is using the event to put one more notch on his college resume.

on a death march team building exercise in which there is no cell service and only one map. Unbeknownst to them, they are being hunted by a pair of blood-thirsty aristocrats in a sort-of pure-blood recreation of The Most Dangerous Game. 

With that, director Ninian Doff expects this to be a social commentary about how the aristocracy would rather hunt blue collar kids for sport in order to retain the purity of British blood.  The aristocrats The Duke and The Duchess who, honestly, feel more like an intrusion onto the plot rather than an organic part of it.  They are not really developed as characters beyond their upper-class standing so that we never feel a sense of purpose and they’re not so much of a threat that we worry for the boy’s safety.

Doff needed to have things one way or the other.  Either paint the social commentary with broader colors or simply get rid of the social commentary and have it just be Four Against the Wilderness.  As it stands, the movie often feels episodic, moving from one thing to the next without a real connection, or a journey playing out.

The funniest thing in the movie is the character of DJ Beatroot who comes to realize only too late how stupid his stage name really is.  In the wilderness, doffed completely in white, he is the whitest of white privilege – a kid who believes himself to be the future of hip hop in a landscape were his stage name is thought to have something to do with agriculture.  That his mix-tape ends up in the hands of several local nationalist is the greatest promise of a much better comedy.  Alas, it doesn’t rise to great heights.  It is amusing here and there but that’s about it.

Now streaming on Amazon Prime

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2020) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized