Most of the guys I knew in college thought this was the funniest movie ever. It was definitely a guy thing, clever in a sophomoric, British boys school sort of way. Not unlike Monty Python, in fact. The bit with the nuns on the trampolines in particular.
I’ve got to admit, I found it funny as well. Not laugh-out-loud funny (except for the bit with the nuns on the trampolines), but it was satisfying, seeing Dudley Moore play the kind of poor schmuck he excelled at, watching him being outsmarted time and time again by Peter Cook’s devil.
He wasn’t a bad guy, Peter Cook’s devil. George Spiggott (the sophomoric humor…) was more of a practical joker than a truly evil being. You couldn’t help enjoying yourself in his company, even though you knew you shouldn’t.
Things go wrong when he’s around, but they go wrong for other people. A paper bag full of cans and bottles breaks, spilling some poor lady’s groceries on the sidewalk. A pigeon poops on some guy’s head. Wasps invade some flower childrens’ picnic.
So what? For once it’s not your life that’s going wrong. It’s Dudley Moore’s, or the grocery bag lady’s or the flower childrens’ and we’re not talking about major catastrophes here, folks. These are minor annoyances. It’s okay to laugh. Nobody gets hurt.
And Peter Cook cracks me up as the devil.