Failed parole officer Simon Garden (Coogan) is framed for a murder committed by one of Manchester's leading police officers. The only evidence proving his innocence is a CCTV video tape locked inside a bank vault. With the help of four inept ex-criminals and token love interest Emma (Lena Headey), Garden must break into the bank and steal the CCTV footage in order to clear his name. Written by
(The Wiseguys Remix)
Performed by 10¢
Written by Shawn Calizo, Tina Link, Phil Hartman (as Phil E. Hartman), John King (as John Robert King), Michael Simpson
Published by Quaddel-B Publishing, Oak Bar Music Publishing and Universal-MCA Music Publishing
A Division of Universal Studios, Inc on behalf of itself and Dust Brothers Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Mammoth Records/Ideal Records See more »
Conventional feelgood caper movie, unconventional lead character
You've seen similar plots, characters, tension/release "will the good guys prevail against unbelievable odds" elements if you've seen any movies at all. But you probably haven't seen too many lead characters like Steve Coogan's rather ungifted parole officer in this.
Coogan specialises in 'little' English characters (though quite a diverse range over his career) - graceless, irritating, of terrific drive but little achievement, and prone to finding the greatest possible embarrassment and humiliation in any situation. They're somewhat like Michael Palin's favourite type of characters (if you know Eric Olthwaite from the TV series "Ripping Yarns" that's probably one of his) but Palin had more affection for them as a rule.
Somewhat unusually for Coogan he displays a certain affection for his parole officer here - he has his triumphs - but this is a more conventional kind of entertainment than Coogan is normally prone to.
It really is just a feelgood comedy caper movie, with a stand-out lead character, but the feelgood stuff is done pretty slickly, and the protagonist is invariably hilarious - Coogan is funny every time he puts himself at the centre of a scene.
I can understand why other long-term Coogan fans are surprised or disappointed about the conventional nature of this movie, as opposed to his TV work. But I think "The Parole Officer" achieves everything it intended to. Steve Coogan is an exceedingly talented man.
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