The delightfully goofy “Brian and Charles” is a sweet-natured, charming comedy that will appeal to all ages. The heartwarming story of a socially awkward and lonely inventor named Brian (David Earl) and his creation, a robot friend named Charles (Chris Hayward), is a timeless tale of friendship that is universal.
Brian lives alone in the remote countryside and spends his time inventing eccentric gadgets that don’t even sound good on paper. His greatest creations are a flying cuckoo clock trawler nets for shoes, and an egg belt (just as it sounds). When he finds a mannequin head in the trash, Brian has the brilliant idea to build his own companion out of a washing machine and other spare parts. He calls the robot Charles, who inexplicably is a low-tech a.i. who teaches himself English. It’s a very funny premise, especially when Charles develops a taste for adventure and can’t wait to leave Brian’s home.
The film is partially done in a faux documentary style, which is a terrific way to introduce that characters. Brian is a kind-hearted soul, with a determined attitude when it comes to his contraptions. He never stops inventing, even when he fails. Charles is a slightly terrifying, hulking 7 foot robot. At first he’s a good friend, hanging out with Brian and sharing in a mutual joy for cabbages. But it doesn’t take long before Charles turns into a bit of a “cheeky arse,” longing for adventure and acting like a moody, disgruntled teenager.
The film is at its best when the two friends join forces to fight the local bully, and the tensions that rise when a girl named Hazel (Louise Brealey) comes between them. It’s a sweet story filled with humor and heart, but there’s not enough substance for a feature length film. The material is stretched too thin, with unnecessary scenes and a long-winded script. The film is based on a short, which is much more suitable for telling the scope of this story. I could actually see this being turned into a web series that follows the buddies on their future adventures. I’d cap the episodes at 15 minutes, however.
“Brian and Charles” is so delightful that it’s easy to overlook its flaws. It is designed to bring audiences a bit of joy, and I think we all could use a little more of that in our lives.