Fionnan (Hugh O’Conor) isn’t your typical ‘guys’ guy. He has taken an active role in the planning of his wedding to Ruth (Amy Huberman) and prefers quiet nights in to drinking and debauchery. All the more reason then for Ruth to convince his best friend Davin (Andrew Scott) to throw him a special stag party with his mates. Reluctant at first, Fionnan soon gets onboard but the groups attempt to not invite the bride-to-be’s rambunctious brother (nicknamed The Machine) soon fails. So this oddball collective of Fionnan’s friends thus begin a weekend trekking-adventure that soon strays off the country path and into complete anarchy.
The Stag immediately sets alarm bells ringing when you see the poster. So often the sign of a mediocre movie, the much maligned rom-com poster (and especially the ‘British’ rom-com poster) usually is a failsafe for something altogether tacky and forgetful. This is unfortunate because The Stag is actually quite an enjoyable film with plenty of good gags thrown into the mix. So even though this is an Irish film, don’t let the curse of the British rom-com poster cloud your judgement on this movie – it’s easily a cut above the likes of The Wedding Video and I Give It A Year.
Perhaps more at home as a TV comedy rather than a theatrical release, The Stag walks down a familiar path but still manages to be pleasantly entertaining. The situation comedy is quite astute and frequently falls into absurdity. But this is done in a very humorous way that will certainly get you chuckling. The sequences featuring a stone burial plot and some missing car keys is great, as is the sudden need to go skinny-dipping only to realise that they’re hopelessly lost in the woods.
The ensemble cast all do very well. Selling the premise of the stag weekend are Sherlock favourite Andrew Scott and Hugh O’Conor as best friends Davin and Fionnan. Amy Huberman does well as the bride-to-be whilst Brian Gleeson, Michael Legge and Andrew Bennett all handle supporting duties well. Peter McDonald does a solid job as The Machine and is frequently at the centre of the films most memorable moments (including an electric fence sketch that’s hilarious).
There’s nothing fundamentally new or clever in The Stag, it just happens to do the basics very well. After so many recent failed attempts at wedding-related comedies, this comes as a very welcome sight. With a collective cast all doing stellar work and an affectionate, relatable story about friendship at its core, The Stag is a pleasant and amusing way to spend an afternoon.
Watch some clips and the trailer for The Stag: