Comfort and Joy (1984)

Comfort and Joy (1984)

“Ice cream is not something that many of us give a great deal of thought to.”

Radio deejay Alan “Dickey” Bird (Bill Patterson) is dumped by his girlfriend Maddy (Eleanor David) on Christmas. While wandering around Glasgow, he witnesses an ice cream truck being vandalized, and soon becomes the middleman in a feud between two rival ice cream companies.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Comedy
  • Feuds
  • Radio
  • Scottish Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Although Peary refers to this film by famed Scottish director Bill Forsyth as a “charming, relaxing, offbeat comedy”, I wasn’t nearly so taken with it. It’s clever and quirky, but loses steam about halfway through; indeed, the subplots (concerning Alan’s radio job and his ex-girlfriend) are much more interesting than the ice cream imbroglio itself. Forsyth made other, superior films — including Local Hero (1983), Gregory’s Girl (1980), and That Sinking Feeling (1979) — which are better candidates for must-see viewing.

Redeeming Qualities:

  • The opening scene, where Alan follows his girlfriend Maddy as she shoplifts in a department store
  • Maddy casually taking her belongings off the shelves of their apartment as she discusses why she’s moving out

Must See?
No. It’s one of Forsyth’s lesser films, and not required viewing unless you’re a fan of his work.


One thought on “Comfort and Joy (1984)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    I’ve now seen 4 of Forsyth’s 8 feature films. It seems he had a spotty career. Sometimes his films are marvelous (i.e., ‘Housekeeping’, ‘Local Hero’), other times not – or less so.

    ‘Comfort and Joy’ falls into the latter. It’s not a terrible film; it carries Forsyth’s signature droll humor often-enough. But it’s also either a bit of a problem (i.e., why is the protagonist eating his heart out over a ridiculous, kleptomaniac lover?; it only makes us think less of him) or sometimes it’s just lazy in its writing (i.e., the protagonist’s ‘need’ to see a psychiatrist; the over-use of the Mr. Bunny van’s jingle ending in “Hello, Folks!” – it’s played almost incessantly and often under dialogue… for laughs, but the joke stops being funny and remains annoying).

    Apparently Forsyth has done worse in his career than what’s here. So, yes, those who do like his work might want to give it a look.

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