Are You Being Served? (1977)

John Inman, Mollie Sugden, Frank Thornton, Trevor Bannister,
The staff of Grace Bros. take a trip to Costa Plonka while the department is being remodeled.
  • 6.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • David Croft, Jeremy Lloyd, Writer:
  • Bob Kellett, Director:
  • Andrew Mitchell, Producer:

All subtitles:



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Trailer:

7 / 10

Like The Show, Yet Not Enough In Other Ways.

I have to admit that I am a little surprised by the reviews and rating for this movie. I actually found it quite funny at times, but I grew up with the show. I think what ultimately pulls this film past an average outing is the facts that some of the one-liners genuinely are funny, and my own personal affinity of the characters.

That's not to say that there aren't a few issues with the film. While the cast doesn't have to be regulated to the store to be funny (Grace and Favour proved that years later), they didn't have to transport the same jokes. There were at least 2-3 scenarios taken directly from the more popular episodes. On one hand, it's not the most original, however funny it was the first time, on the other hand, one has to take into account that some people may have never seen the show, and this movie is their first exposure to it (And shame on you, if so).

The biggest problem is that the plot relies too heavily on the likability of the characters, and the one-liners they shoot out. There are several inconsistencies, the ending is startlingly abrupt (yet ends on the same note as any of the episodes on the show), and plot-wise, they don't do that much. The Grace Brothers staff never gets out to explore their surroundings to add to some new situations and jokes. Again, the innuendos are funny, but the middle of the film drags in terms of things actually happening.

I don't think this film is worthy of its current "3" rating it has. It has it's moments, and the main cast shines in their personalities and silly hi-jinks (the supporting actors don't give the main cast much to work with, however). I think the biggest problem is that it's set up like an extended version of the show, minus the laugh track. You can see the television show format in it, and I think that ultimately hurts the pacing.

Perhaps this would be better for fans-only of the show, or people who haven't seen the show at all. It's not one of the best "episodes" of the series, but it's better than it's been given credit for, outside of some obvious flaws.

7 / 10

You've all done very well.

This big screen outing for the employees of Grace Bros. sees Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden) delivering her first pussy gag within the opening few minutes ("Would you mind holding my pussy?"), which is as it should be, the film giving fans of the TV series exactly what they expect. On the menu: bedroom farce (or should that be 'bed-tent' farce?), sexist humour, xenophobia, homophobic comedy, racial stereotypes, and some quality crumpet. Don't bother watching if you're a PC millennial - this will prove too upsetting for your delicate sensibilities - but those who can appreciate '70s comedy in all of its wonderful, unpolitically-correct glory should have a lot of fun as Grace Bros.' staff cause chaos on a Mediterranean holiday (while the department store is closed for redecoration).

Much like Carry On Abroad (1972), which saw the Carry On team embarking on a package holiday to Spain, Are You Being Served?: The Movie transports the TV show's regular characters to the Costa Plonka, where sun, sea, sangria and sex are the order of the day. Much hilarity ensues as the staff let their inhibitions go and try to satisfy the carnal desires that they've been suppressing for so long. The humour doesn't always work, especially with the lack of live audience laughter, but there are enough comedic gems throughout to keep avid fans of the show happy: a pair of chattering clockwork teeth find their way inside a mannequin's trunks with hilarious results, a hairy caterpillar gives Mr. Humphries (John Inman) a shock, Andrew Sachs adapts his Manuel routine for the role of hotel manager Don Carlos, and Mr. Humphries gets to dress in drag, not once, but twice (disguising himself as Mrs. Slocombe and a nun). Wendy Richards (as Miss Brahms) and Sugden get the funniest lines: "I wouldn't mind if he wasn't so bleedin' common", "We're having it continental style", and "I usually give my pussy an airing this time of night".

As for the crumpet... Miss Nicholson (Penny Irving), Mr. Grace's sexy secretary, is stunning, and Conchita (Karan David), the gorgeous hotel servant girl, could clack my castanets any day of the week (interestingly, both actresses appeared in Pete Walker's sleazy 1974 horror House of Whipcord, helping to make that film one of my favourite British horrors of the decade).

6.5/10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.

6 / 10

Film Not as Good as TV Series

This film is slightly disappointing as unlike the series, there's far more slapstick "Carry On" style hijinks and not as many jokes. Still I can't deny that it doesn't have it's moments especially after the notes get passed around. Still one really misses the series trademarks and the fact that the cast are only briefly at the store.

8 / 10

Dear sexy knickers......are you free?

Intellectual it isn`t,just a good belly laugh start to finish.All the old jokes double entendres and inuendo filled camp humour that made the tv show so popular for more than a decade.Inman sugden thornton & co at their funniest.Cheeky irreverant and pollitically incorrect.Enjoy!

5 / 10

I like them better behind their store counters!

As a fan of the wonderful Britcom, I searched and searched for a copy of this movie. When I finally found it, I was disappointed. I like the characters much better in the store -- they just don't do well outside of Grace Brothers. It was a bit dull that many of the jokes were pulled from the TV shows (e.g. the "Dear Sexy Knickers ..." note; Mrs. Slocombe making offensive noises while blowing up her air mattress, etc.) and the ending was an abrupt letdown. Still a worthwhile watch for any fan of the show, but don't expect a lot.