A ten-minute short written and directed by Duncan Wellaway, Always Crashing in the Same Car (2007) stars Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann and is to date the only project to reunite them since cult classic Withnail and I (released twenty years earlier by the same production company, HandMade Films).
James Booth (Grant) is under a lot of pressure from a vague international crisis of some kind, and to make matters worse he's feuding with his uppity advisor Bill Mackinnon (McGann). After storming out of a midnight meeting and driving off into the city, he makes a mistake that shifts the balance of power very firmly in Bill's favour. Tense phone calls and desperate cover-ups ensue.
Always Crashing in The Same Car contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Grant and McGann not having appeared on screen together since Withnail and I (where they also played sweary, codependent partners in crime). Grant's casting was in part a deliberate ploy to help secure funding by exploiting this reunion.
- Beard of Evil: Sported by Bill.
- The Casanova: It's implied that Bill is, or at least claims to be.
- Casting Gag: Grant and McGann not having appeared on screen together since Withnail and I (where they also played sweary, codependent partners in crime). Grant's casting was in part a deliberate ploy to help secure funding by exploiting this reunion.
- Cluster F-Bomb"Darling, there aren't enough swearwords in the cunting dictionary for how holy fucked we are."
- A Date with Rosie Palms: In Jim's estimation, Bill is a serial self-abuser. It still comes as a shock when he starts touching himself at a very inappropriate moment.
- Fanservice: Paul McGann's character masturbating to making Richard E. Grant's character submit to him. The Withnail and I connection makes it all the better.
- Government Procedural: Of the vaguest kind. It's not even clear they're in government until the final minute.
- Innocent Bystander: The homeless woman accidentally run down by Jim.
- In-Series Nickname: Billy-boy and Jimbo.
- Mouthscreen: Bill gets several when talking on the phone.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Grant is very obviously playing a version of Tony Blair, who was struggling through the tail end of his premiership at the time. This is especially clear during the final scene when he trots out a pitch-perfect Stepford Smile for the press.
- McGann's character equally has echoes of both Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, and his controlling relationship with the PM only enhances this.
- No Party Given
- Puppet King: He may try to fight it, but Prime Minister Jim is firmly in Bill's pocket.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Jim but more especially Bill.
- Sleazy Politician: Our 'heroes,' who also explicitly qualify as corrupt politicians by the end.
- Titled After the Song: The film takes its name from a song on the David Bowie album Low.