Friday 24 November 2017

How Mrs Brown had the last laugh by rewriting all the national stereotypes

Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown
Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown

DJ Taylor

WHEN it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations.

The cultural wars fought out between disdainful highbrows and resentful lowbrows over the precise merits of certain works of art that were such a feature of the inter-war era seem to have lost their savour here in the modern age.

On the other hand, if the storm whipped up over the unsuspecting head of 'Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie' is anything to go by, the controversies which so animated a Cyril Connolly or a JB Priestley 80 years ago are not wholly extinct. The widescreen exploits of Brendan O'Carroll's alter ego have largely been derided as the most frightful rubbish (a solitary star in 'The Guardian') by every cineaste invited to review them; simultaneously, the film's commercial success – No 1 at the box office – has sparked the devastating revelation that the matriarchal, be-corseted and foul-mouthed Mrs B is currently more popular among British cinema-goers than Tom Cruise.

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