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Formula 51 (2001)
"The 51st State" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  18 October 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 41,644 users   Metascore: 23/100
Reviews: 167 user | 94 critic | 29 from

An American master chemist plans to score big on a once in a lifetime drug deal. All does not go as planned and he is soon entangled in a web of deceit.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Jezek ...
Jake Abraham ...
Mac McDonald ...
Aaron Swartz ...
David Webber ...
Mr. Escobar
Sonny Muslim ...
Boy in Plane
Barbara Barnes ...
Boy's Mother
Mr. Ho-Fat


Elmo McElroy is a streetwise American master chemist who heads to England to sell his special new formula - a powerful, blue concoction guaranteed to take you to 'the 51st state.' McElroy's new product delivers a feeling 51 times more powerful than any thrill, any pleasure, any high in history. But his plans for a quick, profitable score go comically awry when he gets stuck in Liverpool with an unlikely escort and his ex-girlfriend and becomes entangled in a bizarre web of double-dealing and double-crosses. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Have a good trip. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language, drug content and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Formula 51  »

Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£913,239 (UK) (7 December 2001)


$57,988 (South Africa) (31 January 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the second film 'Robert Carlyle' and Paul Barber have done together. The first was The Full Monty (1997) in 1997. See more »


When Felix and McElroy jump the Jaguar onto the garbage barge, you can clearly see that there is nobody there. Then, after the car comes to a stop and they get out, Popeye and his crew are just sitting there, a few feet away on the same garbage piles they crashed into. See more »


[first lines]
Elmo: I mean, rules are like, arbitrary, you know. Made up for people who believe in fairy tales like, you know, like Santa Claus. Hey, but not us, right? I mean, we know what's important. There's a war going on, man. A war. Ain't that a bitch?
[cop sucks his teeth]
Elmo: I just graduated today, man. With honors. Got my degree in pharmacology. I'm licensed. Look, if you write me up on this drug charge, I won't be able to practice. So what we're talking about here is, is my life. The rest of it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Shortly after the credits start there is a short segment with Elmo on the Golf Course outside the castle on the post card See more »


References Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »


Written by Sappington / Crosby / Chris D'Abaldo (as Dabaldo) / Swinney / Novotny
Published by Almo Music Corp. c/o Rondor Music (Ldn) Ltd.
Performed by Saliva
Courtesy of DEF Jam/Mercury Records (Ldn) Ltd.
Licensed by kind permission from the Film & TV Licensing Division, Part of the Universal Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

A Quirky, Fish-Out-Of-Water Flick
29 October 2006 | by (Spring Hill, FL) – See all my reviews

I am not really sure what the appeal of this movie actually is. It's definitely not the action, since fights are simple and few and far between. I wouldn't think its the comedy, since the premise of pretty much every joke is the same. It seems the majority of the humor in this movie is Samuel L. Jackson's character dealing with the differences between England and America and Robert Carlyle's character's disgust with Americans. Of course, every-so-often, we get a dash of toilet humor to mix things up. Pretty simple. Nothing special.

And yet, somehow, this movie manages to stay entertaining enough throughout the bulk of it. My only guess is that it comes from the charisma of the cast and characters. Samuel L. Jackson defies logic by kicking ass in just about every movie he's in, whether the flick's good or not. Robert Carlyle's energy and enthusiasm is enough to prevent me from getting annoyed with his constant whining. Emily Mortimer plays the soft-spoken, sexy assassin hired to bring in Jackson's character. And Meat Loaf....well....Meat Loaf bothered the hell out of me. His role as the Lizard, the big-time American drug dealer and previous employer to Jackson, is over-the-top and completely unconvincing as someone who would have rose to power in the American drug market. At times, he is just downright aggravating to watch (especially when he starts ranting and referring to himself in the third-person).

Fortunately, Meat Loaf (and a nearly as annoying Rhys Ifans)are not enough to completely drag the film down. It manages to stay quirky enough to keep entertaining and you shouldn't feel as if you completely wasted the last 92 minutes of your life. My advice? Check it out once, it's a hit or miss.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is there a slight possibility that -Americans- didn't like this movie? Jerry1670
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this is a terrible film. jp33
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