Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Parole Officer (2001) - John Duigan

How much you are going enjoy this film hinges on one thing and one thing only. That 'thing' being just how funny do you find Steve Coogan? If the answer is a big Paul McCartney style two thumbs up, then there is a fair chance that you'll love this. If you are indifferent to the man, then you'll probably find something better to do with your time than bother with this. I'm not saying that this is Coogan's worst film, that honour easily goes to Hamlet 2. It's just more that beyond our Steve, there isn't much else going for this. It's fairly pedestrianly directed and doesn't look particularly good either, however it does zip along quite quickly (as comedies should), and still leaves me crying tears of laughter even after seeing it a good four or five times now.

The plot sees Coogan as the title character (naturally), who witnesses a murder by a bent copper which by luck (isn't that always the way), is captured by a security camera. The tape that holds this all important footage is placed in a security box in a bank vault. So enrolling the help of the only three people he has helped onto the straight and narrow, he plans to break into the bank and retrieve the tape. Of course much tomfoolery ensues.

Coogan runs the gamut from falling off of chairs, to his trademark comedy voices and impressions. He is a genuine comedic talent, and as such is an absolute joy to watch, he never fails to crack me up. Now this is a silly film that doesn't warrant too deep a review, but as I say if you like Coogan then you should laugh at this. And if that doesn't do it for you well the legendary Om Puri (IMDB him) has a supporting role. Need more convincing? I'll just add then that there are cameos by both Omar Sharif, who I guess managed to squeeze his role in around his main career as THE card teacher of choice, and Jenny Agutter. Mmm.

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