After four years in jail, Nicky's determined to start fresh. A get-rich scheme isn't strictly legit, but stealing from one-armed bandits hardly counts, does it? Yet he can't move in Walthamstow without running into aggro. While cashing a benefit cheque, he reluctantly foils an armed raid and becomes a 'have a go hero' - to the irritation of local Mr Big, Mickey Cousins (Beesley). Mickey's rival (Solanki) wants him on side and doesn't take kindly to being told 'no'. Retaining the distinctive linguistic linguini of Jeremy Cameron's novel, but only the bones of his plot, the film-makers have fashioned a droll, larger than life, if occasionally scrappy comedy about how shit happens when good blokes do as little as possible. Nicky means well - a copper's daughter (Newton) sees to that - but he tries to please everyone, and never really stands up for himself. Ejiofor makes Nicky agreeably personable. Licensed to play it wide, some of the other actors stray into laddish shenanigans, but for all the hijinks, this has a firm moral underpinning. Snappy Courtney Pine score, rich verbals and an unpretentious desire to entertain.
Cast and crew