The first thing I’ll say is that Stan & Ollie, about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, isn’t at all similar to that Three Stooges movie the Farrelly brothers released a few years ago. In other words, it isn’t dreadful. In fact, Stan & Ollie is quite delightful.
Their humor may be outdated, but Laurel and Hardy return to prominence in Stan & Ollie, an enjoyable if slight drama starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly. Focused on a post-war tour that may be their last, Stan Laurel (Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (Reilly) attempt to rekindle old magic while addressing long-simmering tensions.
Both Coogan and Reilly are terrific, their chemistry with one another natural and believable. Chemistry is always important, but in a film about two real-life, decades-long collaborators, it’s downright critical, and never once in Stan & Ollie do you question that the two men you’re watching aren’t the real thing. I’m not exactly well versed in the Laurel & Hardy filmography nor their history, but both actors, especially Reilly, immerse themselves in the roles.
The movie itself is pleasant, a taut 90-minute film that efficiently and effectively brings the two performers to life. This isn’t grand drama, but Stan & Ollie is amusing and affectionate throughout. Its quaintness means it will probably be lost to the sands of cinema time sooner than later, but if you’re a fan of Coogan or Reilly (or Laurel & Hardy), Stan & Ollie is one last show worth seeing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.