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...
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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
Nobody wants the England manager's job so the Football Association appoint Norwich City's Mike Bassett (Tomlinson) mainly on the strength of his team's victory in the third rate Clutch Cup! Bassett might not be the world's most tactically astute manager, but the journeyman ex-player possesses an undoubted love and passion for the beautiful game and an ambition (with the notable influence of Rudyard Kipling) to win the World Cup!!!
Grossly unsubtle and saturating hits on it's obvious targets, MB:EM is nevertheless a frequently likeable, occasionally hilarious and poignantly accurate journey on the roller-coaster that is following an under-achieving football giant towards potential footballing Shangri-La. The barbs against the FA despite being razor sharp become tediously repetitive and the character assassination of Paul Gascoigne verges on slanderous but, despite these qualms, the basic premise and the story's foundations are undeniably heartfelt and evocative: The crap qualifying; the false promise borne from results beyond our control; the singular world-beating performance and the 'bridge to far' appearance against feted opposition. All these elements fit snugly into the mockumentary style and, together with Tomlinson's energetic, frenetic and ultimately sympathetic performance (the 'forlorn loser in the hotel bedroom' scene towards the end is class pathos) create a worthy cinematic addition to our (attempts at) understanding of why twenty two men kicking a sphere around a field might cause us such replete apoplexy!
And it erases When Saturday Comes from the record of last great (!) English football pic!
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