Personally I expected Stan and Ollie to be much more of a biopic focussing on their rise to success but the film completely sails by almost their entire career very quickly, settling in on their final tour of the United Kingdom with a run of live theatre performances.
At that point the duo had come out of retirement and were trying to raise money for a new Laurel and Hardy film. As you would expect, things don't go quite as smoothly as hoped. Past grievances, and the challenges of regaining momentum after being retired provide for interesting drama.
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are spot on in the title roles, recreating classic comedic moments with understated performances and rounding out the two personalities in their daily lives.
I will say I was expecting to see much more of the physical comedy and slapstick the duo were known for but the film is more a look behind the curtain, centered on the somewhat bumpy relationship these two had when they weren't performing.
As a result this movie isn't laugh out loud funny. It's more of a relationship drama with most of the humor coming from when Stan and Ollie are actually performing their material.
Overall I did enjoy Stan and Ollie but I think I was expecting a lot more comedy and laugh out loud moments. That said, it is an interesting insight into their final years and really gives a strong sense of just who Stan and Ollie were and what they meant to each other.
If you're a fan of the duo it's very likely you'll appreciate this film as a portrait of a specific time in their career. If you really only know who these two are from their films, and have an appreciation for their place in history, you'll still find much to keep you engaged in the story.
It's a very thoughtful film, which is definitely not what I was expecting.