20 June 2004 | Philby-3
Bowled me over
I've not a lot to add to what's already been said (it's nice how movies like this attract intelligent and insightful comments). I didn't think it owed a lot to `Billy Elliot' but there certainly parallels with `Bend it Like Beckham' - sport as a way to acceptance in a new society. The wrinkle here is that young David Wiseman has desire, but no apparent talent. The suspension of our disbelief is severely strained when his new West Indian neighbour Dennis coaches him to competence in his tiny back yard. As coach Ian Holm put it to aspiring Olympian Ben Cross in `Chariots of Fire' `an athlete does not find a coach, the coach finds the athlete'. Well, I suppose Dennis must have seen something in David. And David certainly has dreams of success via his talking cricket card collection.
Otherwise this is a perfectly delightful movie about growing up and fitting in. Even David's mother's flirtation with Dennis does not end in disaster. The reactionaries fail to drive away the newcomers and it doesn't even rain at the final cricket match (this can't be England!). Gary Sobers and Frank Worrall (played by actors) turn up. Pretty fanciful but utterly charming.