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Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 123
Fresh: 111 | Rotten: 12

Critics Consensus: Though Laurence Sterne's novel was considered more or less impossible to successfully adapt to film, director Michael Winterbottom has done it in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, by making movie about the making of the movie. Stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon add madcap, knowing performances to the mix, and the result is a fun, postmodern romp, before there was any modern romp to post.

95%
Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Though Laurence Sterne's novel was considered more or less impossible to successfully adapt to film, director Michael Winterbottom has done it in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, by making movie about the making of the movie. Stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon add madcap, knowing performances to the mix, and the result is a fun, postmodern romp, before there was any modern romp to post.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 22,570

Trailer


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Movie Info

Flipping back and forth between the 18th century and the hapless efforts of the 21st century filmakers, 'Tristram Shandy' is the making of a movie adapted from the notoriously unfilmable English literature masterpiece, 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Sahndy, Gentlemen,' written by Laurence Sterne. The story begins with Tristram Shandy (Steve Coogan) narrating his life story as he sees it. Crammed with literary jokes and dark humor, Shandy's warped childhood tales are constantly interrupted by … More

Rating:
R (for language and sexual content)
Genre:
Sports & Fitness , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Martin Hardy
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Jul 11, 2006
Box Office:
$1.1M
Runtime:
Picturehouse - Official Site


Cast



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Critic Reviews for Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (111) | Rotten (12) | DVD (10)

Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story is a hall of mirrors that doesn't tease the brain (it's easier to watch than to read about) so much as goose it into submission.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

[Michael Winterbottom's] goofy, messy version of Tristram Shandy puts the Fellini back in 'Fellini-esque.'

Full Review… | March 10, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A wildly imaginative foray into spirited comic anarchy.

Full Review… | March 10, 2006
Miami Herald
Top Critic

A Cock and Bull Story is a grand giggle of a film, well worth your time and money and a game well played for the audience.

Full Review… | March 10, 2006
Detroit News
Top Critic

A hilariously clever picture about the making of a movie that no one will have the slightest interest in. For an experiment about an experiment, it's entirely too much fun.

Full Review… | March 10, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Probably the best-known but-I-digress novel in English literature, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, has inspired Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, surely the best but-I-digress movie this side of Adaptation.

Full Review… | March 2, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Stands alongside -- if not above -- Adaptation as one of the best films about the process.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

A typically rambling, freewheeling effort from Michael Winterbottom...

Full Review… | June 22, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Director Michael Winterbottom may not have proved that you can film this unfilmable book, but he definitely proved he can film a funny movie about trying to film it.

Full Review… | October 6, 2010
Three Movie Buffs

Coogan and Brydon make a beautiful squabbling couple

Full Review… | August 30, 2009
CinePassion

Equal parts literature and lunacy.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008
BrandonFibbs.com

For those who can appreciate the movie's ironic, self-referential nature, this is a thoroughly engaging, near-brilliant comedy.

Full Review… | July 10, 2007
DVD Review

If you go into this movie expecting a traditional narrative tale, you may get discouraged. You have to throw away your expectations and sit back and wait to see what happens ... if anything.

Full Review… | April 8, 2007
Cinematical

A successful mix of literary adaptation, meta-fictional discourse and inside-showbiz comedy. Both funny and clever.

Full Review… | December 30, 2006
Empire Magazine

[O]ne of the cleverest deconstructions and modernizations of a work of classic literature cinema has ever achieved...

Full Review… | November 20, 2006
Flick Filosopher

...Preposterously funny, perpetually inventive, implausibly successful...

Full Review… | November 11, 2006
The Nation

Adventurous, ambitious and downright quirky, this will appeal to those who revel in more than a little bite in their humour.

Full Review… | June 21, 2006
Urban Cinefile

un film dont on se délecte autant pour la redoutable intelligence de son récit et le côté fêlé de sa structure narrative que pour son humour aussi mordant que désopilant

Full Review… | June 5, 2006

The film is complex and droll--always amusing and often hilarious.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Sacramento News & Review

...we see around and behind and underneath the stage, so to speak -- peering into the intertwined lives of the people who are caught up in the maelstrom of an untenable subject for film adaptation.

Full Review… | May 3, 2006
Cinemalogue.com

A film about a film based on a novel about writing a novel

Full Review… | April 14, 2006
Movie Habit

What Winterbottom has done beautifully is distill Sterne's comic experimentation with the rules and shape of the written narrative and translate it into a lark on filmmaking form and technique.

Full Review… | April 11, 2006
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

By all accounts, Sterne's novel is nutty and ribald and utterly defiant of conventional storytelling techniques ... hence this adaptation's wonderfully meta take.

Full Review… | April 1, 2006
Austin Chronicle

Solidifies what Project Greenlight taught us; the process that goes into making a movie often ends up being far more entertaining than the finished project.

March 31, 2006

Amusing and often outright hilarious.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
Kansas City Star

Audience Reviews for Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

½

Having seen and fell in love with The Trip first, it was fun to spend more time with characters that I had come to know and love. On top of being a smart and layered film, Coogan and Brydon continue to give the audience their patented witty passive-aggressive banter. While I did not find myself sick with laughter in the same ways as i was with The Trip, it is still very funny. If you love the characters in all of their humor and misery, then this film is for you.

axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

½

When did British comedy become boring? My guess. Sometime around this film's release. There's an average human drama subplot, but the rest is pretty stuck up [their own a***] comedy.

RossCollinsUK
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

½

your mileage may vary according to your taste in 18th century literature, british comedy and/or the post-modern film stylings of michael winterbottom/steve coogan. i enjoyed it very much, tho it's messy and not everything works. one clever bit, amongst many clever bits, was the score's subtly referencing everything from barry lyndon to 8 1/2, perhaps an allusion to the many charges of plagiarism against the novel

rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

½

A difficult one this. It is very clever, brilliantly satirical and so layered, it is something quite revolutionary. So it is safe to say Michael Winterbottom has actually achieved something to match his heroes Fassbinder and Herzog. Is he as good a director? Nearly, but for every good film he makes, he makes a couple of duds. Coogan and Brydon are great together, they've more than proved that on telly - the supporting cast is ace, Moran being one of today's greatest comedians. To cut to the chase for once - It just wasn't very funny. Witty but I was never close to laughing. First rule of comedy: Make the audience laugh. Second rule: No one likes a smart-arse!

SirPant
Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

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