Mike Bassett: England Manager

Mike Bassett: England Manager


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Everyone takes the piss out of England's failure on the sports field, especially the English. Things are better now. The footie team trounced arch-enemy Germany away from home in a World Cup qualifier against all the odds a fortnight before Mike Bassett made himself known to multiplexes throughout the country. Bad timing.

The movie joke is simple - too simple. The English skipper's a psychopath. The rest of the squad are idiots. As for the manager, he's a short fat bloke from the First Division, who still uses tactics that went out with lace-up leather balls.

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The film is shot as a mock doc. Ricky Tomlinson, star of hit TV sitcom, The Royle Family, plays it straight. If Kevin Keegan discovered that he didn't have the skills, or bottle, to cope at the highest level, Bassett is too thick to accept that he was lucky to get the job in the first place and should give it back at once for the sake of queen and country.

By a miracle, England qualifies for the World Cup in Brazil - cue girls, girls, boys-dressed-as-girls. On the field, they are pants. Off the field, they are out-of-control. Back in Blighty, Mrs Bassett (Amanda Redman) has to live with the humiliation of tabloid sports rage and their son shaving off his eyebrows "because we drew with Egypt".

They don't even look like footballers. They certainly don't play like them. Satire is an exaggeration of the truth, not the mockery of falsehood. Anyone can be funny about fools. Bassett isn't so much foolish as misguided, the wrong man in the wrong job.

Of course, if Tony Hancock had been alive...

Reviewed on: 04 Oct 2001
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Mike Bassett: England Manager packshot
First Division manager takes over national squad for World Cup in Brazil.
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Director: Steve Barron

Writer: John R Smith, Rob Sprackling

Starring: Ricky Tomlinson, Amanda Redman, Bradley Walsh, Phill Jupitus, Dean Holness, Terry Kiely, Pele

Year: 2001

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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