Just in time for the holidays, Sony Pictures Classics has released a new trailer for its Laurel and Hardy biopic, “Stan & Ollie,” and this one might be a sneak tearjerker. In a genius bit of casting, the movie stars John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan as the legendary comedy duo, comprised of Englishman Stan Laurel and American Oliver Hardy, and the likeness to their subjects is astounding. Reilly’s transformation into the rotund Oliver Hardy in particular earned a big reaction when set photos first circulated, but it appears the cosmetic enhancements didn’t get in the way of his acting.
“Stan & Ollie” follows the comedians on a final publicity tour towards the end of their careers in an attempt to reignite dwindling ticket sales. With Hardy’s health in jeopardy and 15-year-old grudges resurfacing, the tour puts a strain on the already complicated relationship between the two comedy giants.
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In his B-grade review of the film out of Toronto, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn said: “The showbiz dramedy follows a genial trajectory, falling short of injecting much ingenuity into the story beyond the uncanny ability to resurrect Laurel and Hardy onscreen. Yet for much of its running time, that’s sufficient.”
Coogan re-teams with his “Philomena” co-writer Jeff Pope, the screenplay that earned both men Oscar nominations in 2014. “Stan & Ollie” also stars Shirley Henderson (“Trainspotting”) and Nina Arianda (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) in meaty supporting roles as Laurel and Hardy’s wives, respectively.
Reilly is heading into an impressive end of 2018, having earned rave reviews for his work in Jacques Audiard’s deconstructed Western “The Sisters Brothers” opposite Joaquin Phoenix earlier this fall. He also voiced the title character in “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which is approaching box office records over its Thanksgiving weekend opening.
“Stan & Ollie” premiered at the 2018 London Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics releases it in New York and Los Angeles on December 28, 2018. Check out the new trailer below.