Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Martins (2001) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Lee Evans has the ability to become Britain's answer to Jim Carrey. Except for his debut, Funny Bones, which bombed at the box office, he has not had a chance to show what he can do. Mouse Hunt, in which he played second fiddle to Nathan Lane, might have done the trick, if it hadn't been so dire, and a cameo role in There's Something About Mary was a one-gag walk on.
Robert Martin is a big mistake. Evans tries to imbue him with pathos when, in fact, he's a stupid layabout with a chip on his shoulder and a gun in his pocket. Writer/director Tony Grounds is attempting to emulate Mike Leigh (High Hopes, Life Is Sweet), without understanding the essence of his humour.
The Martins are the neighbours from hell, except they're not really, they only give that impression. Robert is unemployed, aggressively touchy about his status and a loving dad. His 14-year-old daughter is pregnant and his son is bullied at school. His mother-in-law (Linda Bassett) has a mouth like a sewer and the manners of an alley cat. His wife, Ange (Kathy Burke), is loyal and true. They live in a council house.
When he fails to win a dream holiday in a newspaper competition, he takes matters into his own hands. The mood of the film changes from little-man-against-the-world to armed-assailant-against-innocent-people. Evans tries hard to empathise with Robert, but the script, with its mixture of violence and sentimentality, is against him.
To throw fuel on the fire, Grounds lobs infidelity into the plot. Ange discovers that Robert has had a one-night-stand with the slag upstairs. That wrecks the holiday and the rest of the movie. Ange is in tears, Robert goes gooey with remorse, everyone else looks miserable.Reviewed on: 24 Sep 2001