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The Parole Officer 2001

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(50) IMDb 6.4/10
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TV comedian Steve Coogan makes the move to the big screen with this crime caper. Parole officer Simon Garden (Coogan) is transferred from Blackpool to Manchester and soon finds himself on the trail of corrupt cop Burton (Stephen Dillane). Burton then realises what Simon is up to and threatens to frame him for a recently committed murder if he doesn't leave it alone. The proof of Simon's innocence is a CCTV tape which shows Burton committing the murder, but the cop has the tape locked safely away in a bank vault. So the resourceful Simon rounds up a gang of inept ex-criminals, all former clients of his, and begins drawing up plans to break into the vault and retrieve the evidence.

Starring:
Lena Headey, Steven Waddington
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 30 minutes
Starring Lena Headey, Steven Waddington, Ben Miller, Om Puri, Stephen Dillane, Steve Coogan
Director John Duigan
Genres Comedy
Studio Video Vision
Rental release 18 February 2002
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 19 May 2015
Format: DVD
The redoubtable Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, a thirty-something Parole Officer, with a staggering lack of professional success. He's had 1000 parolees under his care and only 3 haven't returned to a life of crime. He works for the Parole Board in Manchester and discovers some bent cops operating in the local police force, led by the extremely violent Detective Inspector Burton, who strangles a man to death whilst Simon's watching. D.I. Burton buys Simon's silence about the crime by threatening to frame him for the murder.
An extremely pretty female police officer, Emma, befriends Simon, and becomes involved in his plan to rob a bank, which is holding a video tape of the murder. Simon needs the tape to prove his innocence and is soon rounding up a team of miscreants, namely some of his parolees, to help him carry out the bank job...
This is a fairly enjoyable action comedy, which is less campy and lampoonish than a Carry On flick or Naked Gun movie, it's vibe is more similar to a spoof like Shaun Of The Dead. Coogan plays Simon like a watered down version of Alan Partridge, i.e. still somewhat socially inept and occasionally prone to placing his foot in his mouth, but significantly more self-aware and tactful. The scene in a museum with a phallic statue is absolutely hilarious, whilst Simon and Emma have a very nice chemistry together. Stars like Simon Pegg and Jenny Agutter make very fleeting cameo appearances.
All in all, this is a reasonably polished heist flick, with two or three extremely funny scenes, but lacking a little bit of magic. It's no Carry On Up The Khyber, more's the pity, but still, it's a solid enough 3.5 star picture.
Thank you very much for reading the review.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Doi Ling on 21 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
You'd think that a man, who has just been punched on the nose by 2 scary looking guys and is trying to make a dramatic escape from the top of a roof, would do a bit more than say, "Augh...that hurt!" However, that's what makes it funny.
"The Parole Officer" is a nice little package of a comedy regarding the efforts of a somewhat quirky yet kind-hearted guy who decides to retrieve the evidence for a murder at all costs. The film displays everyday morality, and Steve Coogan performs marvallously well here - "I saw a man strangle a human being!...Well, an accountant."
This film is worth your money and time to watch. The great thing about is that it is not something typically British that is set in London, y'know, those stereotypes of Hugh Grant, etc.
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Format: DVD
Failed parole officer Simon Garden is framed for a murder committed by one of Manchester's leading police officers.

The only evidence proving his innocence is a CCTV video tape locked inside a bank vault. With the help of four inept ex-criminals and love interest Emma, Garden must break into the bank and steal the CCTV footage in order to clear his name.....

Oh the transition from TV to big screen is a long and arduous path. Some succeed with very little effort (Simon Pegg), but for others, they suffer an unfortunate Mis-step, which hinders them for a while.

2001 had two particular cases of the latter. The awful Ali G Inda House was one, and this was the other casualty.

The story is good enough, but the humour just feels so seventies TV sitcom, and the inclusion of the vomit scene on The Big One wreaks of desperation. Every one who is a fan of Coogan knows that he is a comic genius, his characters are hilarious and self deprecating, but here with Garden, it seems that he is trying to hard to channel Peter Sellers, but it always ends up with him reverting back to Partridge, which hinders the narrative.

The rest if the cast are fine, but they are relegated to stereotypes, and appearing in little sketches that the film resorts too for laughs.

It's a shame, because there are a few funny moments in the film, Om Puri is truly funny in his role, but at the end of the day, it just feels like a TV Christmas special, and no amount of Omar Sharif in a comedy wig can change it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Aug. 2012
Format: DVD
There are plenty of laughs to be had in this charming little movie. The script is fresh from the word go; it bounces around the right side of funny and Coogan's comedic dexterity is put to great use. It's a real shame that he didn't do more of this before being tempted over the pond for dross like "the other guys". It's a typically british heist / comedy movie and is very funny at times. The set up, involving murder by a corrupt police officer and the bank heist to retrieve the evidence is wonderful and there isn't a bum note in the cast.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By lexo1941 on 28 Sept. 2007
Format: DVD
From the tone of some of the negative reviews, there's no pleasing some people. 'The Parole Officer' is exactly what it looks like, a quirky and professional vehicle for Steve Coogan. His pedantic and klutzy parole officer Simon Garden is a fine creation, not as toe-curlingly embarrassing as the great Alan Partridge but more appealing. (Coogan actually looks handsome from time to time.) The comedy isn't exactly subtle, but I wouldn't have wanted to lose the gloriously bad-taste moment when Coogan is taken on a rollercoaster by one of his former clients and ends up repeatedly puking into the face of the angelic little girl sitting behind him.

The supporting cast more than take care of business, with Stephen Dillane as a sleazebag detective and Lena Headey as a rather implausibly gorgeous policewoman. It's a fine pizza movie without pretensions to being anything more.
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