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I was pursuaded to drag myself along to see this film by my friend. I really had no desire to see it and from what little I knew of the film I was convinced it was going to be another "Full Monty" attempt. I am the first (and am very happy) to admit that I was completely wrong!! What a lovely, entertaining, funny, sad, clever film this turned out to be. The basic background to the story is that two friends who try to rob a bookies get it comically wrong and end up getting arrested. Whilst in jail they come up with a scheme for early release which revolves around putting on a play within the prison and breaking out whilst it is on. Whilst doing so one of the characters falls hopelessly in love with the female volunteer who works there. Now imagine a hulking group of bad boy prisoners dancing around and various paper hats on theirs heads and various drag costumes - very funny. Theres a lovely twist at the end making for a real feel good film - I left the cinema glowing!
Lucky Break is being advertised as the film by the Full Monty director Peter Cattaneo. I should have known before I went to see the film that it was not going to live up to the standards of that great british comedy. Well lucky break centres around Jimmy (James Nesbitt) who is currently inn prision for a bank robbery that went wrong. He is occupanied by his long time friend Rudy (Lennie James). The pair however fell our during the crime because Jimmy tried leaving Rudy behind when things went wrong. The story revolves around Jimmys attempt to escape from the prision. He is unhappy being locked up and with the help of inmates he plots an escape. Things get interesting with the introduction of Annabel(Olivia Williams). Annabel is the anger management teacher who at first seems to hate Jimmy but the pair slowly grow to like each other. Well thats the overall plot of the movie. Not the best but it is reasonable, if not predictable. I am not going to go into any more details as it is quite obvious what happens which is one of my main problems with this movie. As mentioned this film has been tipped as the next big british comedy since The fully Monty. Well I went to the cinema expecting to have a few laughs but left very disappointed. Apart from a few amusing moments the film was very dull. It doesnt have the storyline to rely upon so a few more laughs would have made it bearable. The actors/actresses do a reasonable job. It is quite funny spotting some of the old British actors from other TV programmes. I spotted James Nesbitt (Cold Feet), Timothy Spall (Auf Wiedersehen), Christopher Plummer (Couldnt remember where I have seen him from!). James Nesbitt plays a very cool and calm character and is probably the best thing to come out of the film. Without him the movie would have been terrible. I would suggest that this film is probably a rental movie rather than a cinema trip. It is hard for me to say that seeming it is a British film a
nd obviously I want British films to do well. However this film markets itself on something it is not. It is not funny and was simply boring at times.
After finally finding a few child-free hours on Bank Holiday Monday, my partner and I decided to go to the cinema. Arriving a few minutes late for Planet of the Apes, we had a look at the alternative films showing – one of which was Lucky Break. I had never heard of it, but my other half had, explaining it was a British film directed by Peter Cattaneo (of The Full Monty fame) and starred Cold Feet’s James Nesbitt. It sounded good, so we paid our money and went in. We weren’t disappointed. It is what I would call a gentle comedy. You won’t be rolling round the aisles in uncontrollable laughter, but you will chuckle, audibly. The thing which I most enjoyed about the film was the characters, all of whom seemed well-rounded, convincingly acted, engaging and interesting. The film begins with two friends – Jimmy (James Nesbitt) and Rudy (Lennie James) – bungling a bank robbery. We then catch up with them after the court hearing, with Jimmy being sent to the same prison as his former partner in crime. While they are doing time, they work out an escape plan, which capitalises on the prison governor, Graham Mortimer (Christopher Plummer)’s love of musicals. The story is therefore set against the backdrop of the show they rehearse and perform, which conveniently takes place in the old chapel - well known amongst a select group of prisoners as the building's 'weak link' and best chance of escape. It is a Film Four production and feels very “British” with a host of faces you’ll recognise, even if you don’t remember their names. The only ones I had seen acting previously were Timothy Spall (Auf Wiedersehen, Pet onwards!) and Bill Nighy (who played Chris Langham’s brother in Kiss Me Kate), but we kept nudging each other and saying “What’s he been in before?” It’s that kind of film. I haven’t seen Co
ld Feet, but James Nesbitt is lovely, with his beautiful lilting Irish accent and a nice mixture of charm and sarcastic wit. He is perfect in the role of Jimmy, but then, I couldn’t fault the casting, everyone seemed perfect for their roles and it all seemed to gel together brilliantly, as if they were a real team. My one small criticism of Lucky Break is that it seemed shorter than I would have liked. The characters all seemed to work so well together, the film could easily have been thirty minutes longer. In fact, this sort of film would translate well to the small screen too, with a TV series in a similar vein. I certainly left the cinema wanting more of those wonderfully engaging characters. It was nice to see Christopher Plummer, famous for his stern Captain Von Trapp in the timeless classic The Sound Of Music. He again brings a dignity to the role and complements the others very well. Being set in a men’s prison, it is not surprising there is a dearth of female characters, but Olivia Williams plays the part of Annabel with natural beauty. Her “do-gooder” role is one of trying to help rehabilitate the prisoners and it is obvious she is there for the romantic interest, but their relationship doesn’t seem too forced or predictable. Yes, the film reminded me of The Full Monty, but also of An Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (Phew!) … It is very British, it is very much a fine example of an ensemble film, with everyone shining, no matter how small their role. Its main strength is its characters, whom you come to love or hate, but are never indifferent to. Timothy Spall plays Cliff Gumball, a warm and caring man, unfairly bullied by the evil prison warden, Perry. Spall deserves a mention for the most poignant parts of the film, as well as his gusto in tackling the musical director’s job in the play. The songs and sections of the ‘Nelson’ musi
cal stand up well, written by Stephen Fry who is credited in the final titles. Talking of which, don’t leave your seat when the film appears to end. Make sure you sit through the titles, which actually tie up the loose ends of the plot. This is an advantage of the film too, as nothing is more frustrating that an ending which doesn’t tell you what happens! Rated a 12 certificate, it has some swearing and violence, but everything is done very tastefully. Overall, it isn’t another version of The Full Monty, but it is a really good film we both enjoyed and can only praise.
So there I am sitting in the UGC Cinema in Edinburgh at the WORLD Premiere, no less, of “Lucky Break” during the Edinburgh International Film Festival and apart from thinking “god I don’t like this much”, rather sadly, I was also thinking how great it would be to post an op on the movie ages before any-one else, but dang it all if dooyoo don’t get around to adding the category until almost a week after the general release date and I’m beaten to the “virgin” op thrice over. Ho-hum, here’s the review… The movie is the first from director Peter Cattaneo since he helmed the very successful but vastly over-rated (IMO) “The Full Monty”. Why the wait? Was he waiting for a decent script, well if he was he obviously got rather bored and went with the script for “Lucky Break”. It a romantic comedy and thematically it is not dissimilar to “The Full Monty” having a group of men in an adverse situation having to challenge their views of what makes them a man to achieve a release, in this case quite literally as they are all in prison. The story has Jimmy Hands (played by James Nesbitt, from TV’s “Cold Feet”) and Rudy (Lennie James, who he?) as two very ineffectual criminals who following an armed bank raid end up in prison, as is the law of our land. Jimmy has a bit of the Steve McQueen’s about him and almost before his first slopping out he has wound up the head screw and constantly finds himself in solitary confinement and in conflict with the attractive anger management group co-ordinator Annabel (played by Olivia Williams, Bruce Willis’ wife in “The Sixth Sense). Jimmy soon realises that prison life his not for him and decides he must escape. He builds a team of four to manufacture and procure the necessary equipment, the plan being that they will escape whilst staging a produc
tion of a musical version of the life of Nelson written by the Prison Governor (Christopher “Edelweiss” Plummer). Jimmy is cast as Nelson and much to their mutual horror Annabel is cast as his lover, Lady Hamilton. As the rehearsals continue they soon find that their feelings change to reflect that of the characters they are playing. Things on the escape preparations seem to be going well until a notorious hardman (name of character and actor escape me) is transferred to the prison and demands to be included in on the action. Meanwhile the Head Warden begins to suspect that plottings may be afoot. So it comes to the opening night of the musical and… Nah, this is where I could spoil it for you, time to stop. Anyways as you’ll have seen I gave it 2 stars and I’ve already said that I didn’t enjoy it much, so what was wrong with it? Well to be honest with you, not much really. It wasn’t that it was bad; it’s just that it’s not very good either. It is supposed to be a comedy, perhaps the comedy was supposed to be gentle or something but I didn’t find myself laughing much, one laugh out loud and a couple of chuckles that was it. The audience at the screening seemed to agree with me on this one. As, altho the director and producer, along with a couple of the actors (not the stars tho) were in the audience, they didn’t laugh a hell of a much more, what there was was probably out of politeness for the company. The acting is ok, especially from the two leads. The rest of the characters just seem to be typical prison clichés, like refugees from a bad episode of “Porridge”. Notable amongst the supporting cons is Timonthy Spall who adds a note of pathos with his role as Cliff, the put-upon loser, bullied by the screws and cheated on by his wife. There is little gem featuring Cliff right at the end of the credits.
Now you’ll probably think I’m going too far here but I also had a moral problem with the whole escape thing. Surely for a film to work we have to connect with and care about he characters and their situation. Well these guys, lovely and affable they may be on screen but they are all tried and convicted criminals. Jimmy and Rudy held up a bank with a gun and terrorised the staff and customers (altho the gun was a bit of a dud), of the two other potential escapees, one was an arsonist who burned down schools and the other was a crooked accountant. Sorry these guys deserve to be in prison and, comedy or not, if they got shot trying to escape I wouldn’t be shedding a tear. Anyways, the whole prison escape is just an excuse to hang a piece on the nature of love and sacrifice; perhaps I should have chilled more. What I did like about the escape tho was it seemed to me to have a bit of “the Sound of Music”s about it, which I’d like to think, was a tribute to Christopher Plummer. Probably wasn’t tho. Ok that’s my op, slight, like the movie. Movie has a “12” certificate. To be honest I can’t remember the unsuitable content. Official site: www.excite.co.uk/luckybreak The site has pictures of the Premiere. This is the British premiere in London. The WORLD Premiere in Edinburgh was barely supported at all; obviously Scotland is too far for those poor luvvies to travel to, all those injections, changing currency etc. Shame on them.
Lucky Break is a typical British comedy, some great humour, great lines and the usual soppy love scenes. I really enjoyed this film though and it had me in tears of laughter a few times. Like the directors last film the Full Monty the story was mainly about men trying to plot something stupid. This time 2 guys get caught while trying to rob a bank. James Nesbitt plays Jimmy who leaves his mate Rudy (Lennie James) when the bank job goes totally wrong but they both get caught anyway and sent to jail for 7 years each. They are separated for the first 5 years and then Jimmy gets transferred to where Rudy is and tries to make up with Rudy who still can’t forget his mate left him on the bank job. They both soon make though and then try to plan an escape from the prison. Jimmy gets the governor on his side by using his theatre knowledge on him to get him to let the prisoners do a play of the English hero Napoleon. Cliff played by Timothy Spall who is locked up when he stupidly done a crime he had no idea about gets friendly with them and helps in the play. He is also getting a very hard time form one of the prison wardens and then finds out his wife is seeing someone else so after he asks Jimmy he wants to escape as well and Jimmy says no he ends up hanging himself. Annabel (Olivia Williams) runs the anger management classes, which Jimmy and Rudy go to and she soon falls for Jimmy and vice versa. Annabel also helps in the play and plays the leading women opposite Jimmy. The plot is good even if it’s predictable and they all play their parts well. I won’t spoil it too much and hope I haven’t’ already by telling you some of the scenes. This review doesn’t seem to be like a comedy but I assure you it is and the British wit is as it’s best in this.
If you read that this film is from the director of The Full Monty- you may well sigh. Anything that has the famous strippers attached to it normally means that it ain't alot of cop. But.... Lucky Break will prove to break the comedy mould. James Nesbitt - everyone's fave from Cold Feet- plays Jimmy a bank robber who is sent down for five years after a comedy bank heist. Once inside - Jimmy is asked if he wants to star in the prison musical- Napoleon. But this is no ordinary stage debut- the musical is a used as a smokescreen for a big breakout. Along the way Jimmy gets romantically involved with Annabel (Olivia Williams) who runs the anger management classes in the jail. Lucky Break is a funny and romantic film which contains the Full Monty quota of "lump in the throat" scenes also. The ensemble cast all put in credible and thoughtful performances. Timothy Spall is particularly impressive as Jimmy's piano playing cell mate. James Nesbitt is as likeable here as he is in Cold Feet. He and Olivia Williams do their upmost to make you believe in the solitary confinment romance aspect of the film- and it works. Like Billy Elliot, the feelgood-ometer is raised to full strength here. But it is evenly balanced with the sad moments which the director is well known for. If it's laughs, no special effects, well written gags and a sprinking of romance you after with a clutch of brilliant performances- then Lucky Break is definitely film for you. More people went to see Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles then saw Lucky Break last weekend. It's a travesty as this film is great escapism and perfect for anyone fed up with apes!!!!! For that alone, it deserves an audience. BREAK OUT OF THE HOUSE AND SEE IT- NOW!
This is director Peter Cattaneo’s first movie since 1997’s The Full Monty. It was never going to be easy following that, and Lucky Break is bound to generate comparisons. There are similarities – a group of men, in most cases desperate men, doing stupid things, making fools of themselves, with a big dream. There’s also a will they won’t they suspense in each movie – in The Full Monty it was will they or won’t they take all their kit off?, (well, according to most of the women I knew who went to see it, that was the main theme!); in Lucky Break it’s will they or won’t they manage to break out of jail? (I’m not going to tell you the answer, don’t worry) So, in both movies, the big theme is escape from the dud life that seems to be your lot… I enjoyed Lucky Break, but I don’t think it is quite as good as The Full Monty, nor will it be as big and successful. There aren’t as many big laughs, for a start, but it’s still full of great characters and good ideas, and it stands up very well as a movie in its own right. A filmfour production, it has a very British feel to it, in the tradition of the Ealing comedies, or a good TV serial (such as Cold Feet). The cast is excellent, heading by James Nesbitt, from the aforementioned Cold Feet. It’s his first lead role in a movie, and will surely be the first of many. His trademark bushy eyebrows have been toned down a little for this performance – I was very interested to read that Cattaneo insisted that they were shaved to look a bit more normal. He still looks like a cheeky chappie though. Nesbitt is joined by another Cold Feet actor, Lennie James. The two of them play likeable rogues, Jimmy and Rudy. The first scenes show their (failed) attempt at robbing a bank. I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that the robbery fails (after all, this is a movie abo
ut prison!). Of course, the two of them are inept as villains, and it all goes badly wrong. Jimmy is not really capable of violence, can’t even use a gun properly. The rest of the plot revolves around a scheme to break out of jail. Also part of the motley crew is the downtrodden Cliff, played by Timothy Spall, with some brilliant poignant acting (I saw him at the National Theatre over 15 years ago, and knew then he’d have a brilliant career ahead of him). Then there’s Bill Nighy, as Roger, the toff who’s inside for fraud, (and Celia Imrie has a very small role as his visiting partner), and there’s the spotty young arsonist It’s good to see Christopher Plummer as the Governor – maybe now I’ll get rid of that idea I have of him as the Captain in Sound of Music. Olivia Williams (seen previously in Sixth Sense opposite Bruce Willis) as Annabel plays an education worker in the prison, running classes to help guide them get onto the straight and narrow – a role that’s scorned by some of the prison warders. She’s also there as the love interest, of course. Overall, it's slightly disappointing, if you're expecting something as good as the Full Monty, and it should have been funnier. Nesbitt’s timing is great, but he’s better on TV, somehow. But if you see the film as more of a romantic comedy, it works fine. The plot is fairly tight and it all seems quite credible, on the surface. At the end the loose ends do tie up, honest. But mind you don’t get up to leave as soon as the credits roll – you’ll be missing out on some good extra bits, the prologue if you like.
Peter Cattaneo's Lucky Break is a likable comedy which suffered by comparison with his earlier hit The Full Monty, but is attractive enough in its own terms. Charming incompetent bank robber Jimmy Hands (James Nesbitt), five years into a 12-year sentence, puts together an escape plan which exploits the desire of the stage-struck prison governor (Christopher Plummer) to see his musical about the life of Nelson performed. The plan gets ever more complicated as he finds himself needing to outwit an unpleasant thug who wants to supplant his original accomplices and wanting to wreck the career of a bullying prison officer and having to weigh the idea of escaping at all against his growing relationship with anger management trainer Annabel (Olivia Williams). This is an intelligent caper film with some underlying seriousness to it; Jimmy comes slowly to realise that crime does involve mixing with some fairly unpleasant people. The backstage musical stuff--with its wonderfully fatuous ex-Cambridge director and a score just the right side of entire dreadfulness--is hilarious and the working out of the plot's convoluted central scam efficient. If there is an overall failure of tone, it comes from the clash between the farce elements and the bittersweet quality of the central relationship, as well as Timothy Spall's portrayal of the victimised Cliff. On the DVD: Lucky Break is presented in an anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio and has Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The special features include a director's commentary, cast and crew interviews and a short "Making of" featurette. --Roz Kaveney