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4.1 out of 5 stars49
4.1 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 February 2012
I generally like Shane Meadows, his honest writing and depiction of what early 21st century average life in Britain is actually like, is both appealing and refreshing.

This one (I re-watched after many years and seen all his later work) is just a bit of a tangled mess (hence my summary title). It was great to watch the great Kathy Burke in a dominant (yes!) role now that she's concentrating on theatre direction these days. Also, her screen hubbie, a rather ridiculous wannabe country singer in the shape of Ricky Tomlinson.

Robert Carlyle plays to form as a real piece of ***t who is after getting his ex back. I soon found his constant shouting, swearing and nastiness wearying and Ryhs Ifans' counter example, as poor Shirley Henderson's dopey, lily-livered 'boyfriend' equally annoying. I wanted to shout out loud 'forget them both', but this being drama, the opposite happens of course.

The lighter moments, I suppose were intended to punctuate this domestic misery with an air of humanity. But, most of the time, they look stupidly careless, leaving you unsure whether they were intentional, or not. I did like the overall premise, especially at the end, when the subversive comparison to the classic western becomes apparent, though the setting is a modern English city's housing estate over a hundred years later. The Sierra Cosworth being the equivalent of a wild stallion...?

Meadow's work, though, is always of much merit and the fact that he has gotten himself a niche and etched himself a position on that elite panel of independent Brit directors whose work is admired equally by critics and public alike, is to be much admired. It also means that this quite early offering from him is still above average.
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This film is generally cited as a Western set in the Midlands, but at times it feels as though this has more in common with a Ken Loach feature as the characters seem very real.

This film seems to showcase what the British do best - blend comedy with the more downbeat aspects of real life, the result is a genuinely heartwarming film with more depth than the recent British `rom-coms'.

This love triangle isn't a cut-and-dry black-and-white affair. We get to explore the realities of relationships without the glossy romance of your average Hollywood fayre. In fact, there are moments in this which capture more warmth than a full 90 minute Hollywood feature; Ricky Tomlinson and Kathy Burke laying on the settee having a cuddle and a laugh, was one of the most beautifully romantic moments I've seen in a film. It was one of those `mirror into your living room' moments where the ordinariness of life was reflected on screen.

There is some great comedy here - but then again, with Rhys Ifans, Ricky Tomlinson, and Kathy Burke (to name but a few) in the cast, you expect nothing less. Infact, Kathy Burke should surely have won a BAFTA for her performance. Robert Carlyle is Jimmy, the trouble making ex who strolls into town trying to win back his ex from the bumbling hands of an almost Frank Spencer like Dek (Rhys Ifans). The two couldn't be more different, and the stark comparison works well. The flaws in the `exciting' relationship with live-wire Jimmy are exposed for what they are. There's a lot to be said for cosiness.

In a nutshell: This isn't a lovey-dovey romantic comedy. It's more of a comedy drama with some fabulous acting. The close bonds between friends and family are portrayed perfectly in this endearing film. Sometimes a bit silly, but it's mostly got both feet on the ground. I'd give this 4.5 stars if I could, but on reflection I'll give it 4. A brilliant score, acted to perfection, and a story which could be happening in an estate near you - definitely one of the best films I've seen recently.
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on 9 August 2014
Excellent,arrived in good time. Brilliant british movie,with excellent british known actors. Very good all round movie. Thoroughly enjoyed it.many thanks
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on 24 January 2015
Yet another superb film from the superb direction of Shane Meadows. All of Shane Meadows are great, funny, and very "bittersweet," quite mickey taking of the extreme sections of the working class. Very watchable, well acted and well scripted withiout much input from Shane Meadows - the actors simply improvise.
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on 18 December 2014
If you like British films then you'll love this...Great film, fast delivery :)
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on 20 September 2009
This is actually a really good film, very funny, and I laughed out loud a number of times throughout. If you want a good laugh with some genuine emotion thrown in, I recommend this film definitely.....
"I love your eyes....both of them!" What a great line!
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on 1 December 2005
This is a great movie which plays on the stereotypes nicely from the midlands, from bingo to "baby" the beloved ancient ford car. The storyline and the characters are likeable from the start. The story follows the classic tale of two lead characters, one good guy, one bad, fighting over the one lady in both their lives with a mixture of colourful characters inbetween. The bad guy (Jimmy played by Carlyle doing what he does best) returns to win back his ex girlfriend after seeing her turn down a marriage proposal live on national T.V. Rhys Ifans is awesome in this, you can't help but feel sorry for him and like him as the good guy, despite the terrible car he drives where the seatbelts are the most expensive part. Anyone looking for a good laugh or a true british film, this is worth checking out.
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on 18 April 2011
Loved this movie. Beautiful balance of farce, British kitsch and a quiet, warm finish. Credible characters and all my favorite actors. Also starring The Lazy Boy chair that gave me a truly satisfying belly laugh. Excellent viewing.
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on 30 December 2013
I had never seen this film, but with Kathy Burke, of Gimme, Gimme fame, i thought it can't be bad. Eureka! I found a little gem. Rude, crude and hilarious with some pathos thrown in. Go get it!
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on 28 February 2014
Really good movie with Robert Carlyle and Shirley Henderson! It's so great to see them in the same movie or serie again and Mr. Carlyle's performance is as always absolutely outstanding!
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