21 November 2017 | vchimpanzee
It's okay, sort of inspiring
In this fact-based story set in Crewe, England in 1985, Derek works at Rolls-Royce at a desk resembling those that architects use. I'm not entirely sure what he does, but it's not enough. He is always coming up with schemes to make money for himself and wife Kym. And with American football starting to become popular in Britain, he wants to play. The nearest team is in Manchester (really? they're famous for another kind of football) and that's too far. Here's an idea: Derek and his friend Sean can start their own team.
A team costs money, and Derek doesn't have it. He goes to Sharky to borrow the money he needs, and Sharky has a huge man working for her to make sure people pay her what they owe. The next step is to go to an equipment store. The Right Said Fred brothers (quite likable, and they also perform one of the songs used in the movie) have what Derek needs. He only buys enough for himself.
Several guys show up at the athletic fields to show their interest (trying out is probably unnecessary, since there would be so few talented players). Eddie is an ambulance driver who wants to be a ref. His skills come in handy, and no, he doesn't get to be a ref. The guys will have to provide the equipment they need to keep from getting hurt, which has humorous results at the next practice. And, of course, every time they practice, a team playing real football (this is Britain, after all) insists this is their field, even if the guys move to another field and try to use the same one next time. The players are called "pansies" and other names that get bleeped out, but real football isn't as violent, so how can people playing the other kind not be considered tougher? And the real football players aren't the only ones making fun of these misfits.
Eventually the team discovers that an American who knows American football has moved into the neighborhood. He can be the coach. And things start getting a lot better. Also funnier. The coach is hard on the players, but it is what they need. Still, they're nowhere near ready. The coach also takes care of the bully who has told the players to stay off his team's field, which has kept changing each time to whatever field our heroes were practicing on. Meanwhile, girlfriends of players, and other assorted girls, become cheerleaders, and they're quite good once they learn how.
Derek and the team continue to face numerous obstacles. Derek still owes money to Sharky, who comes to collect. He owes rent money, and Kym has a nice surprise for him which could mean even more expenses. Also, where will they play? Will people show up and pay enough to cover all the costs, including the cost of the stadium? And the team needs real uniforms. Plus the coach is getting frustrated with the players' attitudes.
Unlike most movies of this type, it's obvious halfway through we will never really see a championship or anything like that. A happy ending for this group likely would have to be playing in just one real game, never mind winning. But as you have probably concluded, this team must have been quite successful to have a movie based on what they did. Photos and footage of the real team are shown, along with their accomplishments, at the end.
Still, it is inspiring to watch the misadventures of this group when they do no more than not give up. It is discouraging to see Derek continue to fall deeper and deeper in the debt and deal with even more obstacles, but maybe he'll pull himself out.
As a British movie, this doesn't have the wacky comedy expected from Americans. The laughs are more low-key but there is plenty of physical comedy, also low-key.
Dorsey Levens as the coach gives the real standout performance. He starts out as a stereotypical black American, but he shows real talent turning the comical group into a real team.
Michael Dixon as Derek isn't really easy to like, but he is appealing enough. Rebecca Summers as Kym is attractive and caring.
I'm not a sports fan, but you don't have to be to enjoy this.