Wednesday, 7 August 2013

No.201 : Whole Lotta Sole

Whole Lotta Sole at the IMDb
Fear not spelling fans - we have that title correctly spelt. A fish based pun in the title - this comedy promises plenty!

Set in Belfast, the film follows a variety of characters whose paths are destined to cross. The least appealing but most watchable is Mad Dog a foul mouthed Irish gangster who runs an amusement arcade and illicit casino. He decks his wife for saying he fires blanks and clearly parenthood is a touchy subject.

Meanwhile in his casino, young dad Jimbo is losing his money and getting deep in the hole. Mad Dog threatens to kill him unless he can raise the £5k in two days - his only option may be to rob the titular fish market. To this end he engages his hapless pal and visits his ex-IRA granddad who thinks the troubles are still ongoing. The old man gives them his tommy gun but insists on tagging along.

Elsewhere Bostonian Brendan Fraser is in town minding an antiques shop for his cousin. We know he has a dodgy past but he seems a decent bloke and certainly impresses the local Ethiopian lovely. Added to the mix is cantankerous police chief Colm Meaney and his community policeman son and a gang of gypsies who may or may not be up to no good.

The robbery goes down badly with little money to be found, but a battered case may be the real prize. As the players converge on Brendan’s shop a hostage situation ensues - will the right people go down and will all the relationships be mended? Hope so!

This was a decent slice of fun that lacked any real ambition. They must have netted Brendan Fraser on his holidays because the rest of the production looks like it shared the budget with an episode of ‘Father Ted’. It did start brightly with some colourful characters and situations introduced. Mad Dog played by David O’Hara had some real menace although his baby snatching plan lacked credibility. I liked Jimbo less, mainly because he was played as a loveable scallywag but came across as a feckless arse. His pal and Grandfather offered more laughs and for the most part Jimbo just shouted ‘be quiet’ a lot as his feeble brain checked through his options.

Colm Meaney did his usual stand up job although the subplot involving his relationship with his son could have been jettisoned with no loss whatsoever. It was good that he got experience of sieges as he’s on the opposite side of one in the new Alan Partridge film. Fraser was OK but I didn’t engage with him on any level. He was meant to be sympathetic and bit mysterious but he came across as largely disinterested.

For me the film lost its way when the siege started and given that took up the last hour of the 90 minute film it was always going to struggle to get a positive review. That said it did have a certain charm and at least two laughs which is better than most. I think if this was caught as a TV movie you’d feel you’d done well but as a cinema or DVD outing you can’t help but feel a bit short-changed.

Best Bit : Cod Knows   ‘W’ Score 12/23

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