The premise of Mindhorn is simple enough that it almost feels familiar: a washed-up actor known for playing a detective on television is given new purpose when he must slip into the role again to help the police catch a murder suspect who believes the detective was real. Combining aspects of Austin Powers, Hot Fuzz and The World's End, it's the kind of project I could see being watered-down and remade in ten or so years for an American audience (see Death at a Funeral and The Office) starring the likes of Adam Sandler (or Jeff Bridges, if we're going a classier route). This assessment isn't a knock on Mindhorn, which is an enjoyable film in fits and spurts--merely an observation, perhaps, of how effective this type of character study is, and the recognizable horror of watching someone realize they have become a relic.
The movie is billed as a comedy, and it certainly has plenty of guffaw- and chortle-inducing moments and sequences scattered throughout the narrative, which follows Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt), the aforementioned waning star, as he struggles to let go of his one big role: the titular detective, Mindhorn. After playing this womanizing detective with a lie-detector implanted in his eye, Richard has since lost his voluminous sex-symbol hair, put on a good bit of weight, and has been reduced to doing commercials for products no one wants, despite his best efforts. The call from the police offers him the opportunity to become Mindhorn once again--this time to assist in the solving of a real crime!--and so he returns to the Isle of Man, the setting and location of the original show, where he reconnects with the former coworkers, friends and lovers he left behind to go (unsuccessfully) pursue bigger and better things...

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