Director: Gerald Thomas
Cast: Sid James, Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Liz Fraser, Stanley Unwin
Plot: Bert Handy (James) owns an odd-job service, where his employees are available to cater to the strangest and most complicated tasks.
The fifth Carry On film, Regardless, opens at a job centre. The usual Carry On lot are all clamouring for any kind of interesting employment. In an amusing beat, even Kenneth Connor, the man behind the counter at the job-centre, is flicking through the job listings, looking for anything more fulfilling. Then it opens up that Sid James, back and rearing for a permanent fixture on the Carry On Team, has opened up a new shop. Like a mundane A Team, he wants a team of people that can go out and complete any job for anyone willing to pay.
Essentially, the film gives itself leeway to go in any and which direction appears the funniest. On the surface, perhaps you might think that there is little different to Regardless from the four films that came before. The series has always had a sketch-like feel to it, the movies made up of separate comedy vignettes. The difference with them was that there was always a common theme connecting the jokes. The characters were either getting involved in various mishaps due to their policeman employment or were at mercy to school pranks. Here, that common denominator is missing. Whatever odd-job is handed out leads to the next gag of the movie. The film veers from Sid James getting to feel up a bunch of nurses to Kenneth Williams walking a monkey down the high street. There are some strong moments buried in this movie, such as newbie Liz Fraser having to model lingerie a husband is planning on buying his wife. There are also some weaker moments, like Kenneth Connor getting over his addiction to cigarettes. That jokes makes me think that Gerald Thomas has no idea what a cigarette actually is. There have always been missed jokes in the Carry On series, hell any comedy. But without that link connecting each joke, it feels even cheaper. If we can have literally any sketch due to the nature of the story, then why aren’t we having better ones? One more thing to bear in mind with this movie is that it was the first film to take longer than a year to film. That was the joy of the Carry On franchise: it was British comedies made on the cheap. There was a low expectation there and it made them amusing distractions. You can see why this one took longer, due to the disjointed narrative. Each sketch could have been filmed months apart from each other. There seems to be a certain emptiness in between each scene, as though no one even knew what would happen next while filming it. But because it took longer, it also demands the question why it feels the messiest of the films we have been given so far. This movie just feels like Carry On-lite; the series is capable of so much more.
Final Verdict: As always, there are fun moments, but Carry On Regardless lacks a central narrative thrust to justify the whole thing.