Beyond The Pole Review: Polar Mare
I’ll be honest: twenty minutes into this ecological Brit-com I thought, ‘What the hell is this?’
Supposedly a funny mockumentary about two hapless southerners venturing (very) north to promote climate change awareness, it only succeeds in being unfunny, tedious and being more relevant to Button Moon than planet Earth.
Mark Jones (Stephen Mangan) and Brian “HAHA! His surname’s tongue” Tongue (Rhys Thomas) decide on an inexperienced whim to visit the arctic as the first carbon-neutral, organic and vegetarian explorers ever to hit the continent. Like most people hoping for a Guinness World Record, they’re largely talentless and deluded.
There’s many annoying ‘zany’ preparation scenes to introduce supporting characters, including Brian’s estranged girlfriend Sandra (Rosie Cavaliero who, to be fair, is a decent actress when given the right script) and Mark Benton as Graham, seemingly a friend of Mark’s who eats in every scene, because he’s fat, you see.
Meanwhile, executive producer of BTP, Helen Baxendale plays haughty mockumentary maker here – but with barely any screen time apart from that showing her Cold Feet angry ‘Adam!’ face was this cameo really necessary?
As it turns out she’s just as bad off camera – whatever the producer’s meant to do didn’t work because the film only gets more lengthy and predictable when the two boys finally set off. Without any provisions except thermals, a tent and a lifetime’s supply of cereal bars it was all bound to go hilariously wrong.
Polar bear attacks are milked to the death, as is Mark’s neurosis and Brian’s non-believable phone conversations with Sandra back home. The only characters who stand out are the Norweigans they bump into who decide to compete for the same world record. The ‘He’s eating a biscuit!’ scene almost had me smiling.
If this film is meant to motivate the audience to save the planet, I’ll start by reducing the population – I’ve got a good idea who’d come first.