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Almost perfect laugh-fest,
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This review is from: Please Sir! [DVD] (DVD)
Almost faultless script and inspired performances make this film a joy from start to finish, and its depiction of 70s working-class Britain is fearless and accurate.
An unruly class from a 70s comp gets to go to camp thanks to its idealistic young teacher, Bernard Hedges (outstanding John Alderton). Unfortunately, the girl he likes thinks he's a racist because of a mischievous black pupil ('Double-Deckers' Brinsley Forde) and he's being pursued by a heavy-breathing Patsy Rowlands, while the dragon-lady senior teacher (Joan Sanderson, a tour de force of articulate, withering scorn) is just waiting for the kids to screw up, and worst of all are the teenage louts themselves (all looking suspiciously adult!), who live up to their awful rep when faced with sharing camp with kids from a posh school. Also, unbeknownst to Mr Hedges, one of the kids is there without the permission or knowledge of his brutal, illiterate father.
Joys include the raucous rendition of 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' at assembly, Hedges's bleeding-heart plea for 'his' kids, while Sanderson rolls her eyes, Hedges trapped in a gypsy caravan with a cursing old gipsy-woman ("You'll die be [sic] drownin' ,you will, and bear no children!"), wonderful Deryck Guyler as the ex-military buffoon caretaker, and the daft old teacher chundering on about what he once did with 'Nanny's reticule'. But there is so much more. It's a great ensemble cast. See a very small Todd Carty from EastEnders wet his pants! Even the very end credits provide a laugh, with Feisal's (Aziz Resham) insane dancing. Every scene hangs together nicely and feeds into the story properly.
It's straight-up funny, but there's also a great warmth about it is.
Yes, the kids are a nightmare, from weird Mummy's-Boy Frankie (he'd grow up to be a serial-killer in real life) to precocious wide-boy Craven, but they care about each other, Mr Hedges cares about them and they about him, so you end up caring for them all. You want poor Den to get to spend his life in the country, caring for animals, you want Eric and Carol to get married and get their own council home and you want the Number 3 dog to come in for Craven!