Movie Review: Get Duked! (2019)

Posted: April 12, 2021 in Comedy
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Three rowdy British high school students, DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneeja) Dean, (Rian Gordon) Duncan (Lewis Gribben) and a shy home-school student, Ian (Samuel Bottomley) are sent to the Scottish Highlands to compete for the Duke of Edenborough award. Ian thinks it would look great on his high school transcripts, but the other three just want to smoke, drink and have fun. DJ Beatroot fancies himself a rapper, Dean is a pot head, and Duncan isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Their teacher, Mr. Carlyle (Jonathan Aris) gives them a map and tells them to meet them at a designated campsite, but Dean uses the map as rolling papers and makes a huge joint. On their way to the campsite, they get shot at by someone dressed as the Duke of Edenborough (Eddie Izzard) starts shooting at the four boys. Somehow the panicked boys make it to the campsite, and Duncan suspects Mr. Carlyle, and calls the police. The local police department thinks the perpetrators are a terrorist drug gang who listen to hip hop. Can they find the real shooter before he kills the boys?

Get Duked aspires to be Shaun of the Dead, a vastly superior satire about a slacker, who springs into action when his favorite pub is under attack by zombies. It aspires to be a coming-of-age movie but the camaraderie of the four kids is an open question. It aims to be a satire of rural police, sort of a Highlands Hot Fuzz, but the barbs aren’t sharp enough. The writer tries to do a lot of retroactive exposition and revision to make up for earlier blunders in the script, but that rewrite is too little too late. Instead of the backing and filling at the end, there should have been a backstory about the Duke, and why he was the way he was. What Get Duked tuns out to be, is a stoner comedy about dumb guys doing dumb things an facing no consequences. There is nothing in this movie that Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke or the Harold and Kumar movies haven’t done first and better. And it breaks the cardinal rule of comedy, it just isn’t that funny.

The acting isn’t great. Eddie Izzard who was the only good part of The High Note, gave a flat, lackadaisical, uninterested performance. Viraj Juneeja overplays DJ Beatroot so badly that he tries to force himself into a starring role. His acting and comedic timing seems rushed, his rap skills are mediocre at best. Samuel Bottomley does his best with a poorly written character. Lewis Gribben plays a dumb guy quite affably. But no one really stands out in this film as particularly funny or likeable.

Director Ninian Dorf, who’s also the writer, tries mightily to add visual excitement to this film, like doing multiple crane shots and even a psychedelic scene, but what should have been the set piece, the confrontation between the boys and the Duke was filmed in the dark, making it hard for the viewer to see what should be the climax of the film. Dorf gets a lackluster performance from the biggest star in the film, and that’s inexcusable. And Izzard was an executive producer, which means he paid himself to give a lousy performance. Tobey Maguire was also a producer.

Get Duked! A Knight to Forget

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