Chivalry Review: Steve Coogan skewers sleazy Hollywood comedy
“Tatiana, this is from A Midsummer Night’s Dream… Bottom… Titty… Titiannot Tatiana,” film producer Cameron O’Neill raves in Chivalry, shortly after meeting the intimacy coordinator hired in the wake of MeToo.
Ill-judged and inappropriate comments like these are the bread and butter of Channel 4 comedy, which aims to muddy the film industry’s day-to-day squalor – but with a deft, light touch from the co-creators and chiefs series lead Steve Coogan (Cameron) and Sarah Solemani.
The show’s trick makes her viewer laugh even as she asks uncomfortable questions. For example, the stench of Cameron’s verbal diarrhea temporarily distracts us from the problem indie filmmaker Bobby Sohrabi (Solemani) faces.
Recruited to help reshoot unpleasant sex scenes in Cameron’s big-budget movie, Bobby wants an authentic, raw, and feminist approach — but at the same time, she’s had enough of interference from intimacy coordinator Tatiana ( Aisling Bea), who shuts down production when the male replacement says he doesn’t feel safe dealing with movie star Lark (Sienna Miller).
Impatient, Bobby resorts to the help of a very smug Cameron to distract Tatiana (“I don’t care what that sounds like,” she tells him), subverting our expectations.
The same goes when the muscular young replacement later barges in on Bobby in his cramped trailer, seeking professional advice and seemingly blocking his exit. The viewer’s sudden (short-lived) expectation is that they will cross a line, and we fear for it.
But instead, Bobby (wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Unite Women”) dismisses his acting dreams and tells him he should seek a different career path.
“Do something else. You’re a good looking guy, you’re a confident guy. Help some people out,” she says.
Chivalry revels in those gray areas or unexpected scenarios where our main characters go against preconceptions.
Cameron, the movie producer who is dating his 24-year-old assistant, may have had the clearest emotional journey since the start of the series, but it might just be Bobby’s arc that turns out to be the most interesting and the most stimulating.
Chivalry is available to watch now on All 4.
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