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Half-way through his 12-year prison sentence for an incompetent armed robbery, Jimmy Hands gets a lucky break: he's transferred to a prison from which he can probably escape. He convinces the governor to stage a musical in an old chapel next to the prison's outer wall. He rounds up volunteer actors and puts his escape plan into production. Two other barriers, besides the wall, confront him: the arrival of a nasty inmate, John Toombes, who insists on joining the escape, and Jimmy's feelings of attraction for Anabel, a social worker who agrees to appear in the play. Opening night approaches: is this Jimmy's breakout performance? Written by
A lack of humour is the major problem with this movie. It never really makes you laugh. You will recognise early on that it is going to copy The Full Monty even if you had no idea of the connection before going in to see it. Additionally--as other commentators have accurately stated--it is unbelievable too often.
The only man-woman relationship is contrived; a beautiful, smart girl falling for an con? Of course the writer would like us to suspend our belief and accept that when people are in love anything is possible, but like the Chris O'Donnell's cliff leap in Vertical Limit you simply cannot accept it. Why is it that writers/producers think that an audience will believe the unbelievable? Have the surveys behind the scenes shown that movie-goers are so desperate for escapism or have nothing better to do that the 'believability bar' can be set so low? Even if the movie were novel and well-acted--which it is not--if the writer develops the life of characters within the context of an improbable relationship then no matter how good the acting is or how well the sory is developed the effect will be diminished.
There are some believable scenes, especially when Spall is on screen. His desperation to get out of prison following the meeting with his wife and son is quietly shown in his eyes and the soft words to his cell-mate, even if what he was going to do next was still fairly predictable. And Christopher Plummer! The sad professional slide he is currently on (Dracula 2000) makes me want to wither, or jump up and yell, "why are you wasting your talent here?". It could have been Don Knotts or Leslie Nielsen, almost anyone but Plummer. In other words, the producers needed 'a name' and Casting went along with it. I also had the feeling that the cute accents were used a vehicle to sell the movie. The mixture of Oxford English, non-Oxford English and Irish is not enough to charm me into suspending my belief if the jokes are few and far between. Like the movie's premise, I too was ready to get out as soon as possible. 3/10
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