Dry, wicked humor abounds in English comedy Guardians when Carlson (Matt Prendergast) shows up as a paid guardian (house-sitter) for a 200-year-old West End townhouse after he breaks up with his girlfriend Eleanor (Victoria Johnson) and has to leave the flat they share.
Carlson is told there is more to this house than meets the eye. Noises, shadows, strange apparitions all point to the house being influenced by supernatural forces. After being told by his surprise housemate Lavender (David Whitney) that the house is haunted by the deceased previous owner, Carlson discovers that, in fact, the only evidence of unusual activity in the house comes from Lavender himself, and the peculiar agent Buxton (Mike Shephard) who hired them both.
“Noises, shadows, strange apparitions all point to the house being influenced by supernatural forces.”
Mark A.C. Brown wrote and directed the film about the unlikely pairing of quiet Carlson and flamboyant Lavender. Brown owes more than a little to the legacy of Monty Python for their absurdist comedy, and a definite nod to Bruce Robinson’s Withnail and I. The repartee between Carlson and Lavender is reminiscent of Withnail’s most outrageous moments. For those unfamiliar with the late 60’s Camden Town antics of Withnail, uncle Monty, a hirsute drug dealer named Danny, and a holiday to the countryside that goes horribly wrong, do yourself a favor and find that film. It is a masterpiece about coming of age at the end of an age.
Meanwhile, back at Guardians, the farce cooks along in a zany fashion with Carlson becoming progressively more enraged with Lavender and really hits full throttle when a well-known politician shows up for a costume sex party asking for Fidelio (an alias Buxton is using).