Have you heard of this film? Me neither. Turns out there’s a reason for that, it’s….well it’s kind of small. You know how some films are definite cinema pieces? This isn’t one of them, it’s made for watching at home in the middle of the day. You know what it felt like? It felt like an extended episode of a sitcom. Kind of like Young Offenders (which was turned into a tv series later on), but nowhere near as good. I watched the trailer and thought it seemed amusing but forgettable, and the film itself is the same. It’s not the funniest film you’ll see all year, but it’s a good way to kill time.
The central relationship really works though. You genuinely believe that these two characters have a love-hate relationship. Do you know what it reminded me of? Steptoe and Son. The two characters seem to dislike each other a lot, the younger one has dreams of moving and becoming something bigger, but is being held back by the parent who depends on them. This does lead to ultimately the worst part of the film where it turns out the mum lied about having cancer. She says she did it because she was worried that he would leave and she’d be alone. That revelation kind of ruins a character who was already very close to being unlikeable. There are too many moments where she gets so close to crossing the line to being awful, then gets slightly brought back. But all of them together, PLUS the ending ruin any sort of empathy you would have for her. It’s a shame as the son is actually kind of likeable in a weird way. Oddly gullible in a sweet way. There’s a moment near the end where you find out a woman he married was just doing it to convince him to smuggle drugs. When he realises the truth it’s actually kind of sad, but it makes his mum look worse as she just insults him instead of supporting him. It’s a shame as if her character was toned down it would make her likeable. All she needed was some redeeming qualities. I mean the film does work. The plot makes sense, it’s well directed and it does have some incredibly smart and funny lines.
None of that can make up for what I found the most disappointing thing about this film: former Chelsea player Frank Lebouef. Now a big part of this film is that whilst the mum has a British passport, the son doesn’t as he’s technically French. His dad is played by Frank Lebouef, and that disappointed me. Not because it’s him, but because it wasn’t him. He’s just playing the characters dad, I personally felt it would have meant more if he played himself. You could have got a lot of comedy out of the main character finding out his dad is actually a famous football player (especially if you establish that he hated Chelsea). I feel that was a wasted comedic opportunity, and that kind of sums up this film; a film of wasted opportunities and potential.