REVIEW BEAN AND THE LADS ARE HOME AND DRY
BY Jonathan Ross
News of the World
March 3, 1996

I'm completely the wrong person to review a film about football.

The last match I saw was Leytonstone United versus some bunch of Polish sailors who had got lost on their way to Tilbury Docks - and that was only because I'd been sent in to give my dad a message and I was too polite to leave as it would have meant Leytonstone losing half the audience.

So a movie about the great working class spectator sport - however cunningly timed it is to appear just as football is taken seriously again and has oodles of magazines about it in the shops and the very funny Fantasy Football league and countless rip-offs on TV - is bound to leave me feeling lukewarm at best. Or is it?

If you like football then you'll want to go and see When Saturday Comes anyway. But if you don't, I suspect that, like me, you'll soon warm to what is essentially a classic movie tale - the underdog is fighting back and overcoming enormous odds to triumph. It's like Rocky, only a bit grittier and more believable, and by the end you'd have to be a hard-hearted son of a female dog not to catch yourself cheering on the hero. Sean Bean plays Jimmy Muir, a Sheffield football addict who still dreams of taking up the game professionally, despite the fact that at 24 he's a bit old to be thinking seriously about starting in the big league.

But when he begins going out with the sexy and smart young wages clerk at the brewery where he works, he finds the courage to try and make his dream a reality.

His father, a bitter alcoholic, wants his son to fritter his life and talent away, rather like he did.

And his mates, all hard-working, hard-boozing northern gents, also stand to hinder his plans, albeit unintentionally. It all comes down to an exciting "Will He or Won't He" finish, and I'd be a very bad sport indeed if I gave away the ending.

Sean Bean is superb in the lead role. He's one of our best actors and given the right roles he could be the Michael Caine of the 90s.

Emily Lloyd is sweet and sexy and likeable as his girlfriend and Pete Postlethwaite (a nightmare to spell, that name) who worked with Mr. Bean on Sharpe, is the local football coach who eggs Jimmy on.

All in all, it's a great treat - for football addicts and non-fans alike. And if you're one of the latter then rest assured, it's nowhere near as crushingly dull, tedious or soul-destroying as I find footer in real life.

Ross Rating: ** 1/2

 


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