"What do you get if you take one television chef, past his sell-by date, add two armed robbers, stir in the police and simmer for three days?" We're asked.

Didn't strike me as particularly appetising either, but this budget Brit flick is plucky enough to have a game crack at a black situation comedy.

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The plot does exactly as it says on the tin. Henry Goodman plays Felix Limb (geddit?), a pompous, thoroughly dislikeable celebrity chef on the brink of cancellation. His Limb is a well-heeled knock-off of Keith Floydisms, complete with a glug of the vino always to hand. A bit unfair on Floyd perhaps, but not on his associated sleb peer group, I think, so we'll have a swig and it's eyes back on the film, if you please. Anyhow, as Limb holds a dinner party that's doomed to failure and relationship meltdown his night takes an interesting turn when two armed robbers-cum-kidnappers mistakenly barge in.

Hang on. One TV chef, his wife, his lover, his assistant, a journalist, an academic and two armed robbers? I make that Pimms-a-cock.

Limb certainly does and begins to capitalise on his circumstances in a desperate attempt to save his over-stewed career. Situational japes ensue with enough vim from the ensemble to ram home the satiric swipe at celebrity status - what some people will do to get, keep it and how we respond to the whole rigmarole. The point that other things might also actually matter in life is likewise laid clearly on the table.

Turning the hostage set-up on its head is a clever idea, but perhaps not so clever when you make an entire budget comedy out of it. It ultimately lets the piece down as a little bit one-trickery, reducing the satire to that of a very mild J G Ballard short story or a stage play farce. Goodman goes at it with gusto, though, and is similarly supported by everyone else.

It's Robert Heath's feature debut and he handles things with enough conviction and style to mark himself out as a name to remember. Not that he can hide the budget restrictions that obviously cut into the minimal effects he uses, but you can definitely see what he was aiming to serve up.

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2006
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Game serving of British black comedy.

Director: Robert Heath

Writer: Rob Churchill, Bob McCabe

Starring: Henry Goodman, Julianne White, Neil Stuke, Bo Peterson, Peter Gevisser, Rolanda Marais, Costa Milton, Robyn Scott

Year: 2005

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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