Review: Postman Pat: The Movie

Postman Pat faces a new threat to his livelihood in his first big-screen adventure.
Postman Pat faces a new threat to his livelihood in his first big-screen adventure.

Directed by Mike Dis

Pat Clifton (Stephen Mangan) is determined to give wife Sara (Susan Duerden) the proper honeymoon she's always wanted. 

A dream holiday in Italy beckons, just as soon as Greendale's beloved postie's promised work bonus comes through. 

However, change is afoot at the Special Delivery Service. New executive Carbunkle (Peter Woodward) is on an efficiency drive that not only includes mandatory triple teabag use, a bring-your-own-toilet-paper policy and the replacement of employees by machines. 

Unable to bear the thought of letting Sara down, Pat uncovers another, albeit unlikely, route to Italy - winning UK reality show You're the One. Auditions are coming to Greendale next week and Pat has just one chance to impress uber-producer Simon Cowbell (Robin Atkins-Downes) and stay in the running for the recording contract, lifetime supply of pot noodles and all expenses trip to Italy. 

However, there are those determined to either ruin or take advantage of the postman's moment in the spotlight.

Pencaster and Greendale's mailman has come a long way since he made his stop-motion debut on the BBC more than 30 years ago. And this computer-generated post-modern lament about the modern postal service certainly would have strained relations between Pat and the Royal Mail Service had they not already stopped using him as their frontman in 2000.

Combining elements of Robocop and One Chance, Mike Disa (Hoodwinked Too) and the writing trio (which includes Not the Nine O'Clock News 's Kim Fuller - brother of American Idol impresario Simon) manage to conjure up plenty of contemporary corporate satire, along with visual gags and knockabout fun for Pat's traditional pre-school audience. 

Highlights include the endless mickey taking out of the TV show's theme tune and merchandise, Jess the daredevil black-and-white cat, robot testing using famous screen bots (also look out for nods to 2001 and The Terminator) and a terrific montage focused on Pat's rise to fame, scored to Peter Gabriel's Big Time .  

The lineup of vocal talent is also impressive, with Episodes' Mangan more than suitable for the deadpan everyman, Jim Broadbent (Arthur Christmas) a too-trusting CEO, Rupert Grint (Harry Potter's Ron Weasley) a disinterested reality contestant and David Tennant (Doctor Who) his scene-stealing, scheming agent.

Throw in a toe-tapping soundtrack that includes everyone from The Saturdays to Shane Filan and Ronan Keating to Rizzle Kicks, mainly singing postal-themed singles ( Please Mr Postman , Signed, Sealed, Delivered), and depending on your tolerance for mail-themed puns this has the potential to deliver 90 minutes of non-stop, if fairly undemanding fun for young and old.