Reduced to Clear
Jul 29, 2022
Luke Allen, Alex Yousefi
Luke Allen, Alex Yousefi
Edward Tidy, Simon Fisher-Becker, Winter Foenander, Dawn Butler
Britain has produced some of the finest comedies of all time. ‘Blackadder’, ‘Fawlty Towers’, ‘Only Fools and Horses’, ‘The Office’, ‘Spaced’, ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’, ‘The IT Crowd’, ‘Fleabag’, you probably get the point. That list may seem overly long, loquacious, long-winded, garrulous, voluble, and loose-lipped, but it is merely an example of the style of humour employed in ‘Reduced to Clear’, the worst comedy to come out of Britain since Brexit.
We are introduced to Mike (Edward Tidy) on his first day as a charity shop volunteer. The manager (Simon Fisher-Becker) tells him to ‘consult the rulebook’ if he’s stuck, before toddling off to god knows where. That line ‘consult the rulebook’ will surely become a very funny gag later in the film right? Wrong, it doesn’t come up again until almost the very end, and is forgotten almost as quickly as it arrives.
The crux of the problem with ‘Reduced to Clear’ is it’s script, which is so mind-bogglingly awful that it’s more likely to cause someone to smash their screen in rage than roll around in laughter. It doesn’t understand the concept of setting up a gag, events merely happen with no foreplay, and we’re expect to laugh just because ‘oh look at me I’m so quirky, I’m so random’. It’s one of those scripts which feels the need to lengthen each joke to the point of exhaustion, over-explaining everything and becoming unbearably loquacious. This wouldn’t have been so bad had they done it once, then moved onto the next joke, but it seems to be the only joke in the arsenal, and occurs time and time again. The ending tries to cop out and nullify the bad script by becoming self-referential, however, that’s a further example of lazy writing, as the writers - Luke Allen and Alex Yousefi - have evidently realised the abysmal nature of their script, but rather than rewriting, have opted to try and undermine it with a ten-second gag.
Allen and Yousefi’s direction is similarly lifeless, giving the setting of the charity shop no atmosphere whatsoever, whilst the framing leaves a lot to be desired. The argument that this is perhaps because it was made on a budget of £2000 budget does little to explain this - I’ve seen school productions with a greater production value. The decision to not have a score whatsoever is bizarre, though perhaps a laugh track would have made even more sense - anything to fill the vacant pauses as each actor fumbles their way around the botched script.
‘Reduced to Clear’ is not a good film, in fact, it’s almost unwatchable - though it’s one saving grace is that it doesn’t offend any proportion of society. But it did offend me, simply by having to watch it; ‘Reduced to Clear’ is an apt title for a film lacking in anything which would make it worth keeping.