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The manager of England's national football unexpectedly succumbs to a heart attack, and suddenly the search is on for a replacement. Most people who seem qualified for the position have the good sense to turn it down, and so the responsibility falls to Mike Bassett, a scruffy and loud-mouthed lout whose claim to football fame is leading a previously undistinguished team to a league championship. Bassett insists that England will win the World Cup under his leadership, but that's before he replaces his star player with a once-gifted footballer who has since developed a drinking problem, and hired a one-time car salesman as his assistant. After stunning losses to Poland and Belgium, Bassett goes from a favorite of both fans and the press to one of the most hated men in England; hoping to whip his team into shape, he subjects them to the high-tech training methods of eccentric Dr. Shoegaarten, which injures more players than it helps. Despite Bassett's ineptitude, England manages to ... Written by
This mock documentary about an England World Cup campaign has many funny moments, but it can only fully be appreciated by people with a good knowledge of English football.
The film is clearly modeled after the famous Channel 4 documentary "Graham Taylor: The impossible job", it only had to ever so slightly caricature its real life model to turn it into farce. As a result, the film has moments where it is hilarious and strangely realistic at the same time. Proof of that came a few years after the film was made, at Euro 2004, when David Beckham missed a penalty in almost exactly the same way (and by the same margin) as the England striker in this film.
Not all the jokes work, e.g. the car salesman turned England coach trying to flock Korean cars to England players just did not not ring true, but others were close enough to real life to make me laugh out loud, e.g. the video tape incident or the Pele interview.
The film will probably find it hard to find an appreciative audience outside Britain (certainly outside Europe), because there are too many footballing in-jokes. For example, when we hear about Mike's playing career with stints at Doncaster Rovers and Crewe Alexandra then this is very telling to a British audience, and the avid football follower in the rest of Europe can just about get the gist of it, but everybody else would be left bemused.
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