There's Only One Jimmy Grimble

There's Only One Jimmy Grimble


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Feel-good is synonymous with footie - the roar of the crowd, the stunning goal in the dying seconds, the surge of adrenalin as everything goes slo-mo, the team from nowhere that believes in itself enough to win.

John Hay lays it on thick. Every sentimental moment is lifted down and polished. Every cliche, from the bully's come-uppance to mum's nice boyfriend's return, is lovingly restored.

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Lewis McKenzie has a hard time putting grit into Jimmy Grimble, when everyone else is trying to make a hero out of him.

He's a normal, sad, insecure kid, living in Manchester with mum (Gina McKee) and an unemployed biker (Ben Miller) who dyes his hair and is never seen in anything but leathers. At school, the gamesplayers pick on Jimmy and the PE teacher (Robert Carlyle) is too wet to do anything about it.

He is a Manchester City fan, but too nervous on the field to be any good until an old woman, living in the ruin of a condemned block of flats, gives him a pair of boots, which she says belonged to a legendary player from the club's golden past.

Jimmy wears the boots and all his fears are gone. Even the PE teacher is impressed and includes him in the school team, much to the bullies' fury.

The film presses the right buttons and you watch it happen, mesmerised. Somewhere, at the back of your mind, a critical voice protests.

Robert Carlyle can't be passive and ineffectual forever. He's Begbie from Trainspotting, for heaven's sake. Sure enough, it turns out that the PE teacher was a hero once himself and will be again no doubt.

Jimmy's mum is gorgeous and the biker a prat. Either she's stupid, desperate or the director is using the guy for easy laughs.

Her ex-boyfriend (Ray Winstone) is a well dressed, polite, sweet-natured removal man - hard to believe, but anything seems possible in the North West, even magic boots - who happens to be married. Guess what? They sort it.

A film like this is no worse for you than a bag of chips and a deep fried Mars bar.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2002
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There's Only One Jimmy Grimble packshot
A misfit schoolkid dreams of being a footie star.
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Read more There's Only One Jimmy Grimble reviews:

Symon Parsons *****
Keith Hennessey Brown ****
Nicola Osborne ***1/2

Director: John Hay

Writer: Simon Mayle, John Hay, Rik Carmichael

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Gina McKee, Ray Winstone, Lewis McKenzie, Ben Miller, Jane Lapotaire

Year: 2000

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


EIFF 2000

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