Both leads are so extraordinarily good as to have effectively split their award prospects, but given what a singular talent Laurel was, Coogan — in some of the best work of the comic and actor’s career — really leaves his mark, even if the Golden Globes extended a lone nod to Reilly.
Although the story covers familiar ground, there are very particular aspects to it, from grappling with aging stardom to a glimpse back at the studio system in Hollywood’s golden years, which could chew up even the town’s biggest names.
At its core, this straightforward tale about the bond between two very funny men whose names will forever be joined by an ampersand has produced a poignant movie, and those who make time for “Stan & Ollie” will have gotten themselves into a fine mess, indeed.
“Stan & Ollie” opens Dec. 28 in the US. It’s rated PG.