A Merry War

Reviewed by Dan Lybarger

November 5, 1998

The Withnail and Iís Richard E. Grant (who was born to play pretentious British artistic types) plays Gordon Comstock, a successful ad copywriter. Tiring of commercializing his talents, Gordon tries to get by as an underpaid bookstore clerk and, more importantly, as a poet. Based one of George Orwellís early novels (Keep the Aspidistra Flying), A Merry War illustrates how those who flaunt convention can be just as foolish and egocentric as those who follow it. The film boasts some fine banter (a book merchant boasts, "I donít read books; I just sell them.") and a terrific cast. Corset queen Helena Bonham Carter is particularly good as Gordonís long-suffering girlfriend. While itís a major stretch to figure out what draws her to him, A Merry War is a genial and engaging comedy (R). Rating: 7.






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