The Hippopotamus

6.4 IMDb
14 January 2017 Release
6 Votes

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A country manor mystery that's actually a deliciously wicked comedy of manners, The Hippopotamus is a rollicking adaptation of the best-selling novel by Stephen Fry. It centers on a lapsed poet, failed drama critic, redundant husband and hard-working drunk, Ted Wallace (the mellifluously voiced Roger Allam in a rare starring role). Fired from his newspaper job, Ted leaps at the chance to drown his sorrows at his old friend's country estate, Swafford Hall. A series of spiritual healings have recently put the household in a tizzy. The purported miracle worker is his hosts' teenage son, Ted's godson, David (Tommy Knight). Lord and Lady Logan are set on sharing their boy's "gift" with the world, blissfully unaware that his "laying on of hands" trick involves, well, an emphasis on "laying." At odds with a colorful party of fellow guests only too ready to swallow anything they're told, Ted sets out to prove the miracles are a hoax and save the young man from a lifetime of embarrassment.

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Movie Comments

  1. JLRVancouver, 2 months ago
    Despite the promising premise and cast, I found the "The Hippopotamus" to be very disappointing. Much of the 'humour' came from Roger Allam's foul-mouthed muttering and yelling. A little bit goes a long way and (IMO) incessant profanity in a comedy is usually sign of a lacklustre script (like third-rate stand-up - if you're not funny, yell 'F---' a lot and hope for cheap laughs). The story, which finds Allam's obnoxious washed-up poet "investigating" claims of miraculous cures at a country estate starts off promisingly but then degenerates into a series of embarrassing sex-sight-gags. Given that this was based on a book by the talented Stephan Fry and included some fine British comic actors (e.g. Tim McInnerny was great in the Blackadder series), "The Hippopotamus" was a real let-down.
  2. abbiedog2, 2 months ago
    This is a thoroughly enjoyable film. Surfing Netflix for something decent to watch when I chanced upon The Hippopotomus, having not heard of it. What a nice surprise! Delightfully funny and tender, without being soppy. The narrative was pure Frye and so funny. So nice to not be bored by stupid slapstick, but laugh out loud at the fab script. I just loved this film.
  3. M Lisher, 1 month ago
    Hippopotamus is an adaption of a novel written by Stephen Fry, which by credit to whomever chose the cast, became obvious within ten minutes into the film when Ted Wallace, played by Roger Allam, affirmed his character so well as to have an essence of Stephen Fry's grandiloquence emanate through his role. For that reason, this film would certainly be recommended to any fans of Stephen Fry, himself.

    The quality of which, between the book itself and the film, must forgo to others more competent as book reviewers rather than film, as I, myself, thoroughly enjoyed the more eloquent use of language, as expected from a book, whilst a cast, of whom were capable of the eccentric roles which were required from them, were perfectly matched to the script. Bringing together a film, which by today's standards, is a phenomenal increase in the use of grammar with a visual display to aid the story onto the screen.

    The story revolves around a supposed miracle of which Ted Wallace (Roger Allam) is employed by Jane Swann (Emily Berrington) to witness for himself but yet opposes throughout. With such opposition, the film becomes an Agatha Christie Poirot mystery with all the clues just need piecing together to figure out if indeed this was a film, as one would watch at Christmas, with all the miracles of hope and joy, or if, by going against the grain of human emotion, reason and logic would succeed to answer the inexplicable.

    Much to my disappointment was that a search for more adaptations of Stephens Frys books led to zero.
  4. Rick James, 1 month ago
    This trifle fails to convince. The story is contrived and the deus ex machina is not appealing. Throw in a bit of raunchy teen-cream excitement to attract voyeurs, and there you go. The performances are good, although each character is stock. If you're on a plane this is worth seeing but don't pay for it.