The Stag came out in 2013 but completely passed me by. A mate of mine recommended it to me last week saying it was one of the funniest films she’d seen in a while and, having done three gigs in a row last weekend, on Sunday I flaked out and watched it. And yes, it’s funny. In fact very funny in parts.
The film is about the stag weekend of Fionan (Hugh O’Conor) who is getting married to Ruth (Amy Huberman). Ruth asks Fionan’s best mate Davin (Andrew Scott) to organise a weekend away, but Fionan is reluctant to go the usual “booze and strippers” route, being a fairly meek and mild individual. Instead Davin suggests a walking holiday for Fionan and three of their mates. To their horror Ruth insists that her brother, who is known as The Machine (Peter McDonald), accompany them. The Machine is brash, loud and head-melting, with a reputation for causing stupendous amounts of trouble. Despite the boys’ best efforts, The Machine finds out where they’re going and shows up for the weekend, creating mayhem, antagonising the lads, and basically being a complete liability.
There are some very funny moments in the film: The Machine’s altercation with an electric fence, the boys doing the ‘Emperor Penguin’ shuffle to keep warm whilst nude and lost in the forest in the dead of night, the desecration of an ancient burial mound to find some lost car keys.
Peter McDonald is the stand-out star in the film. His portrayal of The Machine is hilariously funny, yet heartwarming and with considerable depth and sensitivity. I also loved Andrew Scott’s performance; his confession to Fionan in the forest is a very emotionally affecting scene.
So if like me, you missed The Stag when it came out, rectify it immediately. If you like a quintessentially Irish sense of humour, you’ll get some guaranteed laughs out of it.