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With: Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, Samuel Bottomley, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben, Viraj Juneja, James Cosmo, Kevin Guthrie, Jonathan Aris, Alice Lowe, Georgie Glen, Kathryn Howden, Brian Pettifer
Written by: Ninian Doff
Directed by: Ninian Doff
MPAA Rating: R for drug content, language throughout including sexual references, and some violence/bloody images
Running Time: 87
Date: 08/28/2020

Get Duked! (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Highland Jinks

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Get Duked!, which premieres Friday on Amazon Prime, is a zany, rambunctious comedy set in the Scottish Highlands.

It involves a decades-old program in which UK youths are plunked down in the middle of nowhere, and are expected to survive using Teamwork, Foraging, and Orienteering.

This year, four city kids are selected to participate. The first three are burnout delinquents: Dean (Rian Gordon), Duncan (Lewis Gribben), and D.J. Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), the latter a would-be, up-and-coming hip-hop star, and a legend... in his own mind.

They are teamed up with nerdy, friendless Ian (Samuel Bottomley). They are given a map — cellphones don't work here — and the delinquents immediately tear a chunk from it to smoke some pot.

Unfortunately, their adventure takes a turn when they discover that they are being hunted by a figure called "The Duke" (Eddie Izzard), as a way of ridding the UK of its undesirables.

Two local cops (Kevin Guthrie and Kate Dickie), thrilled with the prospect of chasing something other than bread thieves, are on the case.

Scenes involving a failed attempt to make a murder look like a suicide, powdered soup, psychedelic rabbit poop, a very sharp fork, and, yes, a performance by DJ Beatroot, constantly surprise and inspire genuine giggles.

Originally titled Boyz in the Wood, Get Duked! is one of those movies that manages to be anarchic and demented within the framework of a cuddly, coming-of-age story, not unlike 2013's The Kings of Summer or 2016's The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

However, Get Duked! has less going on than those other titles. It's more disconnected from reality, and anything resembling depth is cheerfully chucked. The only real connective tissue is the inevitable growing together of the four friends, and their inevitable leaving this situation as slightly better human beings.

Writer/director Ninian Doff makes his feature debut after a career in music videos (Migos, Royal Blood, the Chemical Brothers, etc.), and his sweeping outdoorsy look and smart use of space not only enhances the humor, but is pleasing to the eye.

Americans may want to turn on optional English subtitles to help disentangle the thick Scottish accents, but some viewers may want to jump into this happy, goofy jam several more times instead.

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