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The Acid House is a collection of three short stories. ‘The Granton Star Cause,’ covers a very, very bad day in the life of Boab Coyle (Stephen McCole); ‘A Soft Touch’ revolves around Johnny (Kevin McKidd), who marries the very pregnant Catriona (Michelle Gomez), who, almost as soon as the baby is born, starts making it with psychopathic neighbour, Larry (Gary McCormack); In ‘The Acid House’, Coco Bryce (Ewen Bremner), a speed-crazed madman, desperately fears commitment to his relationship with Kirsty (Arlene Cockburn). Meanwhile, Rory (Martin Clunes) and his wife, Jenny (Jemma Redgrave), are about to have their first child. Suddenly, in a burst of lightning, the baby and an utterly stoned Coco somehow exchange personalities, much to the dismay of all.

"Trainspotting has a lot to answer for. Its wild, irreverent style and its delving into Glasgow working-class society, was successful because of the film’s inventive style and colourful characters. No such luck in this utterly appalling, ineptly made slice of cinematic bile. How on earth this film ever got off the ground is unfathomable, but it single-handedly has managed to turn back British cinema a decade. On a purely technical level, under the guidance of amateur director Paul McGuigan, the film is a mess. This is little more than three in-your-face clumsily crafted short films whose sole purpose is to offend those viewers with enough 'bollocks' to suffer through this drug-induced piece of nonsense. The first segment, in a footballer-turned-fly spots his deranged parents having sex is singularly one of cinema's most deranged moments. Now this critic is not a puritan, but that sex scene is simply confrontationist and exploitative. One imagines, that as long as screenwriters know how to spell and say 'fuck’, then they must be literary artists. There's more excessive profanity in this film than all of Eddie Murphy's concert tours put together, and used so blatantly, that their repetition becomes annoying and facile. The Acid House is completely in-your-face viciousness, done so badly and with little purpose or imagination, that its effect is more numbing than entertaining. It may have been designed to shock; what it succeeds in doing is alienating the audience. This could well be the worst and most offensive film of the year, if not the decade."
Paul Fischer

"Call me crazy, but I think Irvine Welsh is a mysoginist. These three short stories are great as stories but there is so much vigorous, almost violent sex, especially in the middle story, that it becomes extremely difficult to watch. There must also be someone in Scotland who finds the most grim locations in the entire world and presents them to the makers of films like Trainspotting and Acid House. The first of the three stories, The Granton Star Cause, was actually not too bad. God is very funny (not the one I believe in, but funny all the same) and the whole scenario is extremely amusing. Boab (Stephen McCole) is so unfortunate throughout the entire story that you can only laugh and remember the days where you had thoughts about doing the things he does as a fly. But it all falls down with the gratuitous sex scenes and the tasteless references to bondage. The second, Soft Touch, is the worst offender of the three, starring one of the ugliest characters I have ever set eyes on, Larry (Gary McCormack) who gets to shag Johnny's wife Catriona. The third, The Acid House, was definitely the best story of the three, but probably the most visually irritating. The first twenty minutes was pretty much a film clip, a long and boring one at that, building up to the personality transfer/birth scene. Ewen Bremner is fantastic as the two characters he must play - the yobbish Coco and the nameless newborn, into whose body Coco's personality has ended up in. Many will say this film is brilliant for the way it portrays people and the differences between the classes but in reality it is little more than a vehicle for Welsh to reveal his prejudices."
Peter Anderson

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CAST: The Granton Star Cause: Stephen McCole, MauriceRoeves, Garry Sweeney, Jenny McCrindle; A Soft Touch: Kevin McKidd, Michelle Gomez, Tam Dean Burn, Gary McCormack; The Acid House: Ewen Bremner, Martin Clunes, Jemma Redgrave, Arlene Cockburn, Jane Stabler

DIRECTOR: Paul McGuigan

PRODUCER: David Muir, Alex Usbourne

SCRIPT: Irvine Welsh (based on his collection of short stories)


EDITOR: Andrew Hulme

MUSIC: Primal Scream, Nick Cave, Barry Adamson, Beth Orton, Marc Bolan, Oasis, The Verve

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Bridgland

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 31, 1998

VIDEO RELEASE: July 21, 1999


A reader replies:
Didn't think it was quite THAT bad. Anyway, Mr Fischer should be advised that Trainspotting was set in Edinburgh, not Glasgow, as is this film. A niggling point, but I do feel that Accuracy is important in reviews.
Craig Woodfield, Sydney

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