The Shouting Men (R15)

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Review byMatthew Turner4/03/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

The Shouting Men is a watchable, if ultimately not very funny comedy that starts well but quickly runs out of ideas and has to settle for an increasingly tedious stream of non-PC jokes.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steve Kelly, The Shouting Men stars co-writer Warren Llambias as Rod, a bored psychologist who's obsessed with watching his local team Gillingham (whose fans are known as The Shouting Men) play. When Gillingham wind up in the FA Cup, Rod persuades a group of his friends and fellow supporters to travel 300 miles to Newcastle to watch the match.

With a minibus provided by aggressive, wheelchair-bound fan Terry (co-writer Matt Daniel-Baker), the trip quickly gets underway, but Terry proves both a nuisance and a liability, so they leave him behind after he picks a fight with a group of hardmen (including Craig Fairbrass). The trip then goes from bad to worse, as the group encounter one disaster after another.

The Good
The film starts well, with a likeable group of characters and a potentially interesting set-up, but the moment they leave Terry behind, all the life goes out of the film and it quickly runs out of steam. Essentially, it feels as if the script only had enough material to get to that key moment (it's obviously important, as the film starts with the fight and then leads up to it in flashback) and was then hastily cobbled together from whatever sounded like a good idea at the time.

The performances are decent enough, particularly Dudley Sutton in the time-honoured kindly old man role. Similarly, Llambias has a likeable, downbeat everyman quality (he's like a poor man's Eddie Marsan) and Daniel-Baker is excellent as Terry, but he's sadly under-used.

The Bad
The main problem is that the jokes don't work (e.g. a sat-nav mess-up taking them to the wrong Newcastle) and the script ends up throwing one non-PC gag after another (mostly toilet-based although there are gags about old people having sex as well) in increasingly desperate fashion. On top of that, the film sets up several interesting sub-plots and then fails to do anything with them, particularly in the case of the gay sub-plot involving Rod's best friend.

Worth seeing?
The Shouting Men is watchable enough but it's ultimately disappointing thanks to a poorly developed script and a series of painfully unfunny gags.

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