I certainly wouldn’t have put money on David Niven, Peter Sellers, Orson Welles and Woody Allen teaming up to make a spoof Bond film, but, according to eyewitnesses, the 60s was a truly strange time. It must have been, the hippie craze was at its peak, and whoever greenlit Casino Royale must’ve been smoking quite a lot of whatever hippies used to smoke. A jab at the Bond franchise, which was still finding its footing in the world of Hollywood, as some of the greatest minds of comedy come together to make a truly pitiful crack at the tropes of the franchise. The only issue is the lack of substance, for a lot of these jokes fall apart not because they fail to capture the spirit and mockery of the Connery era of Bond, but also because it’s a truly despicable, boring film.
There’s not one moment here that will elicit a laugh, which is surprising when you consider the cast at hand. A series of directors, writers and crew members make for too many cooks in the kitchen, each adding their own variety of comedy or charm. Woody Allen adds his bit of neuroticism, but then it’s right back to David Niven pretending he has a stutter. We’re left lolling around with Peter Sellers from time to time, but when the directing team of John Huston and four others realises he has nothing much to do, they throw us to a gag with Bernard Cribbins’ taxi.
It’s shambolic at the best of times. So many plates are spinning at once, but nobody has checked to see whether or not it’d be more impressive to have them all come crashing down, or to reduce the number of things to keep in check. With such a large cast, bombastic plot devices, cameo roles and also the need to not only entertain, but actively mock and praise a franchise of films, it all gets too much. I can see why five directors were working on the project, but it’s amazing that even with five people at the helm, nobody could make heads or tails of which direction the movie should take. There’s no formation, it all just barrels through its script and ushers the viewers far away from the product as soon as it possibly can.
Horribly bloated in every aspect, Casino Royale suffers from too many stars vying for attention, and not enough time spent on any of them. With so many directors elbowing their way into the scene, it’s impossible to figure out whose idea was the catalyst for the problems that arise throughout. Everyone comes out of this one looking incredibly badly, unwatchable garbage from beginning to end. At least it would’ve been somewhat forgivable had there been some ounce of comedy, but there’s none to be found in this soul-sucking horror show.