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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
LUCKY BREAK is Peter Cattaneo's follow-up to his hugely successful 1997 comedy THE FULL MONTY, which I thought was great. Unfortunately his second stint behind the camera isn't half as successful. The main problem with this comedy is simple: it's not funny enough. Yes, there's a few chuckles but my sides definitely weren't split... they weren't even creased.
James Nesbitt, from TV's Cold Feet (in the UK), is full of cheeky Irish charm but I didn't think he cut it as a leading man. He's great on TV, but he lacked something on the big screen. The love interest is provided by the lovely Olivia Williams, who plays the same same sort of role she's done before, and is fine again here. Christopher Plummer plays the Prison's Governor and it's always good to see him even if the film's not that great. The rest of the inmates were pretty good, with Bill Nighy's scene-stealing poncey Roger as the standout.
Storywise it hit all the right notes but, as I'd said, wasn't nearly funny enough. There are echoes of MONTY throughout but the production put on by the inmates at the end of the film didn't work nearly as well as the MONTY finale. So, overall I'd say it was a bit of a disappointment, which is a bit of a shame.
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