Eye For Film >> Movies >> One For The Road (2003) Film Review
Three drunk drivers and a retired businessman come together in a rehab class. Jimmy (Greg Chisholm) is the young whipper-snapper with an eye for the ladies, Mark (Mark Devenport) a low key taxi driver and Paul (Rupert Procter) a highly strung salesman on the downslide of a marriage. Richard (Hywell Bennett) is an ex property developer with a penchant for karaoke, and the anchor upon which young Jimmy hopes to secure a money scam to relieve him of his much accumulated wealth.
In between role playing exercises, the foursome head down the boozer for session upon session, enduring Richard's amateur status as the karaoke guru and Paul's hyper active claims that he really is a decent salesman - it's the world that failed him. Meanwhile, Jimmy plays it up with the local barmaid and Mark just sits and watches, nursing his pint. The comedy value is at times from the top branch. The dual bantering during the role playing is hilarious, particularly their reluctance to take part at all.
At the end, they pit their wits against a set of teenage car thieves in a paint ball game. Battered and bruised, they make their way to Richard's mansion for a grand finale that brutally unravels the team spirit they had worked so hard to create.
Based on tragic family situations, the value of the comedy swings from bitter to sweet, as we learn more about their backgrounds. Jimmy's mother is a promiscuous alcoholic and Paul's wife has had enough of his drunken shenanigans and shunts him into the garden with a tent. Mark is the semi sane one, whose spectacularly ordinary life and dead pan delivery earns good laughs.
This is a credible debut for writer/director Chris Cooke. It has the quintessential self-deprecating British humour in abundance. If anything, its downfall is the story. There's not enough there to carry it into the classic league, and somehow the comedy is let down by the straitjacketing of the plot. A few more twists would have been welcome.
The acting is more or less there, though. Hywell Bennett is suitably regal as Richard and Rupert Proctor every bit the frantic, but dwindling, Mamet-style salesman.
Room for improvement, but on the strength of this, Cooke could be one to watch.Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2003
If you like this, try:In The Company Of Men