Messrs Partridge and Calf are conspicuous by their absence from Coogan's first feature, which at least deserves credit for opting not to rehash the comedy star's brightest TV moments. Instead, Coogan and his co-writer have come up with an Ealing-style crime caper shaped around the exploits of an inept, irritating but cheerily well-meaning probation officer. Transferred from Blackpool to Manchester, Coogan's title character drops out of the service after tangling with corrupt police inspector Dillane, who's ready to pin a gangland murder on him - unless Coogan can retrieve a surveillance video from a bank vault, proving the cop is the killer. The tape's existence allows Coogan to set up a daring heist with a team of misfits (bigamist Puri, computer whiz Miller, hardman Waddington) drawn from former clients. With the bland policewoman Heady popping up as the routine love interest, it's easy to see where the rest is going. For the most part it chugs along pleasantly.
Cast and crew
Steve Coogan, Henry Normal
Steve Coogan Lena Heady Om Puri Steven Waddington Ben Miller Jenny Agutter Emma Williams Stephen Dillane Omar Sharif