The Stagg Do (DeMarco, 2014) – DVD Review – By Last Caress.
The Stagg Do, written by star Martin Paterson and director James DeMarco, is a hugely British affair which wears its North-Eastern heart very much on its sleeve.
“Staggy’s getting married and I’m the Best Man, which means I’m in charge of the stag do. But it’s not going to be your average stag do; it’s going to be the dog’s bollocks, with loads of drugs, loads of booze, loads of lovely titties, the whole fookin’ lot. And there’s only one place that’ll do the job. In the middle of England’s most glorious countryside, lies the king of all shag-pits: The notorious Cock’s Inn. It’s fanny-fookin’-tastic.”
Staggy (Andrew Stagg) is a born-and-bred native of Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne. He’s getting married to Charlotte (Therase Neve), who isn’t. Staggy’s lifelong best mate and Best Man Pob (Martin Paterson) wants to send him off in style with a “fanny-fookin’-tastic” stag do at legendary local bordello The Cock’s Inn which, for reasons never made clear, has never previously enjoyed their patronage, but Charlotte’s feelings on the matter could not be clearer: “Read. My. Lips… You are NOT having a stag do.” So, along with mates Radgy (Craig Conway) and Si (Simon Buglass), Pob hatches a plan. Don’t tell Staggy it’s a stag do, pretend we’re going camping for the night instead, in a field which just so happens to be within skipping distance of The Cock’s Inn. Charlotte will allow him to go camping for the night, won’t she?
Well, no, she won’t. Not without two conditions being met, anyway. Firstly, Staggy has to sack the boorish Pob, who she’s never liked, from his duties as Best Man in favour of one of her well-to-do cousins from Down South. And secondly, Staggy and co. have to take Charlotte’s blue-chip father – The Judge (Bill Fellows) – with them on their camping trip, to ensure things don’t go awry. How is Pob going to get the four mates away from the Hell of camping with The Judge and into the Heaven of The Cock’s Inn?
The Stagg Do, written by star Martin Paterson and director James DeMarco, is a hugely British affair (despite Mr. DeMarco’s American origins) which wears its North-Eastern heart very much on its sleeve. “Authentic Geordie Cinema” trumpets the DVD case. This is to The Stagg Do‘s benefit since it’s the inherent likeability of these four Geordie lads which keeps the somewhat misogynistic tone of the picture just on the right side of harmless, even if that harmlessness is forced along by the deus ex machinas of the fun-hating Judge and his bride-to-be daughter, painted here as such a ballbreaker one wonders why Staggy’s marrying her at all.
Pob: Are you alright like, Staggy?
Staggy: Aye, aye… it’s just that this wedding, eh? It’s just a pain in the arse, man.
Pob: I understand that, like.
Staggy: Charlotte’s getting herself all excited. There’s bigwig’s comin’ up from London. She reckons it’s all gonna go tits-up. All gonna gan pear-shaped.
Pob: Sounds like you’ve got the jitters to me, mate. I divvunt blame you, like. I would as well. Having to shag the same fanny for the rest of your life. Same fanny, same tits… same arse, if you get lucky, like. I wouldn’aa fancy that sh*t, like. All they do is get aaulder, fatter, saggier. Nay good to me that, like. Tell you what though, at least you’ve got a sh*t-load of porn to keep you going, haven’t ya?
Staggy: Aye, I suppose so.
Funny, in a lad’s-mag sort of way, but also possibly the glummest exchange between a Bridegroom and his Best Man that one could imagine.
Still, the episodic nature of The Stagg Do once we get to the camp site (putting the tent up, spiking The Judge with drugs, spiking The Judge with more drugs, looking for The Judge who’s wandered off in an acid-fuelled stupor etc etc) keeps things chugging along nicely throughout the movie’s brisk 68-minute runtime. The ceaseless use of the term “fanny” and several derivations thereof (“Hippo’s Yawn”, “Tramp’s Beard”) might begin to wear on some, particularly females. Having said that, my wife laughed at The Stagg Do throughout, so what do I know? As I said though, the four Geordie pals are inherently likeable, particularly Martin Paterson as f*ckwit Best Man Pob, hewn from similar rock as Auf Wiedersehen, Pet‘s Oz (Jimmy Nail) or maybe Shaun of the Dead‘s Ed (Nick Frost). In fact The Stagg Do shares stylistic similarities – albeit considerably further down the budgetary scale – with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s zom-rom-com cinematic debut as well as with their TV show Spaced; certainly during the opening sequences in which the premise of the story and the lads’ hometown of Walker is established. There are lo-fi shades of Guy Ritchie too, especially when Pob makes a pre-stag reccy of The Cock’s Inn and has a chat with proprietor Dick Pounder (Lee Ridley).
I should also take a moment to mention the soundtrack. Chock-full of tracks by local unsigned artists, it’s outstanding and available from the movie’s own website HERE.
The DVD – also available from the web site – is a smart and efficient piece, with the 16×9 picture and 2.0 sound both doing the job required. The Geordie-ribbing DVD menu (“Play Fillum”, “Fanny-tastic Features”) sets the tone before the movie’s even underway, and there are a couple of decent features to be found: a “Making-Of” for The Stagg Do and a test scene for Pissheads, a previous project from messrs. DeMarco and Paterson which never quite got off the ground. There’s also a fun and hugely informative cast/crew commentary, too.
The Stagg Do is available now.
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