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Young couple Jackie and Leo move from North London to a suburban home in the green belt paradise of Southern England. At the birthday party of a neighbor, they soon discover the strict social hierarchies of village life.
Out of work, scrounger Robert Martin lives with his dysfunctional family - long suffering wife accident prone son and pregnant teenage daughter in a shabby house next door to a giant shopping center in the London suburbs. The Martins are the family from hell! Robert dreams if winning a dream holiday for his family, and when he fails to win yet another competition he flips, out tracks down the elderly winners, ties them up in the cellar and steals their tickets! Written by
Robert Martin is unemployed, a bit of a geezer and always on the scrounge whether it be benefits or entering every competition he sees. When he loses out on a dream holiday he believes he is due, he flips out and uses a mate's gun to get a bit of respect from those he feels have wronged him just because of who he is. While the police follow up a series of bizarre reports of gun crime involving a Chav, Robert also finds out that a mate is coming out of prison with the knowledge that Robert slept with his wife. The pressure to get any holiday and get out of town with his dysfunctional family gets to him.
Although it goes to extremes with the plot, this film is still an enjoyable look at a typically Chav family where you can hardly see the people past the shouting, drinking and generally antisocial behaviour. Grounds' script works well because he doesn't try to make us like them (because most of the UK don't) but he does enough with them to let us see them in good light and bad both as products of their environments as well as causing their problems for themselves. This means the drama works well even though it is stretched at points by the action, because it is the characters that we are here for.
As such it is the performances from Evans and Burke that make it work so well. Viewers moaning about how they should be funny and how disappointing the two were have simply missed the point. It is their convincing portrayal of a Chav couple in love that makes it work so well; they allow their characters to be convincingly rough but also give room for believable soul-searching whether it is spoken or just in quiet moments. They work well together and individually. Without the thought the rest of the family are Chav clichés, albeit convincing clichés. The support cast are good enough to judge the couple without it being too heavy handed or judgemental. I can understand why viewers moan and complain about how it isn't funny enough, because they have just listened to the marketing department that pitched this as a trashy comedy, but trust me when I say that the performances drive this film and make it as engaging as it is.
Not the sort of thing that will travel well outside the UK but it is an effective drama that takes a fair and balanced look at a typical Chav family. Yes the plot has to go to extremes to move it all along but it is the characters where the film is and they are worth watching for not only because of how well written they are but also how good the serious work of Evans and Burke is.
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