Blackball

British movie comedy? Don't make me laugh. How is it that a nation which prides itself on dapper wit, deft irony and delight in the absurd becomes so constipated when asked to put it all on film? Ali G, The Parole Officer, Bean... Ahh, Bean. Mel Smith, the human beanbag responsible for that lucrative flotsam, returns with a lumpen rags-to-riches tale of Cliff Starkey (Kaye), a sportsman who cashes in on his bad-boy image to become a loudmouth superstar. And at which sport does he excel? Lawn bowls. Stopped laughing yet? What, so soon? That's one joke done with. The other centres on a flabby Vaughn as a pernicious, yakkety agent. The director's main conceit is to mock tradition in the shape of staid crustacean Ray Speight (Cromwell) while sneering at the coarse commercialism of the new. As Starkey's fame and obnoxiousness grow, Smith broadens his attack to take in satellite TV, crude and rampant patriotism, dishonour and ignobility, while schizophrenically celebrating the very same in every other scene. It's messy, but the real problem is: it's not funny.

Release details

Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mel Smith
Screenwriter: Tim Firth
Cast: Paul Kaye
James Cromwell
Alice Evans
Bernard Cribbins
Johnny Vegas
Imelda Staunton
Vince Vaughn
James Fleet
David Ryall
Ian McNeice
Kenneth Cranham

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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DES DIAMOND

BRILLIANT PARODY ON LAWN BOWLS WITH MUCH PATHOS AND WITTY COMMENTARY ON OUR SPORTING OUTLOOKS ALL ENMESHED IN A PREDICTABLE BUT NEVERTHELESS AMUSING ROLLERCOASTER OF LIFES UPS AND DOWNS.

DES DIAMOND

BRILLIANT PARODY ON LAWN BOWLS WITH MUCH PATHOS AND WITTY COMMENTARY ON OUR SPORTING OUTLOOKS ALL ENMESHED IN A PREDICTABLE BUT NEVERTHELESS AMUSING ROLLERCOASTER OF LIFES UPS AND DOWNS.