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Try as he might, the roguishly handsome Cliff Starkey, just can't keep out of trouble. In his sleepy home town on the English coast, nothing much inspires him...apart from bowls. Cliff has always preferred to play by his own rules much to the disapproval of the regimented, elderly bowls fraternity. Before long, the bay boy of bowls is turning the sedate and very English pastime upside down with hysterical results. Written by
Ok, so this isn't going to be hailed the new The Full Monty, and doesn't have the romantic edge of Four Weddings And A Funeral, and it may not even have the charm of Bend It Like Beckham, but Blackball is an amusing, sometimes laugh-out-loud tale of the underdog winning through in the end.
Paul Kaye (more famous for his role of Dennis Pennis) plays Cliff, a guy living on a run-down estate but who has a talent for Crown Green Bowls, a sport more recognised for the older generation. But when a team from Australia are storming in the bowls arena, Cliff decides that his only way of getting to play them, is to win a bowls contest for the County Championship, a competition won 23 times in a row by Roy (James Cromwell). Of course he wins, but loses the championship and the chance to bowl for 15 years in professional competition due to a rule that Cliff broke.
The rise to fame is helped by a sleazy sports agent (Vince Vaughn) and Cliff becomes the bad boy of bowls. He also falls for Roy's daughter (Alice Evan s) and in his rise to the big time, almost loses everything that he holds dear to him, from his Grandad (Bernard Cribbins), his best friend (Johnny Vegas) and his girl.
This isn't going to win any major awards and may be forgotten about six months down the road, but it's an undemanding piece of comedy cinema that will have you chuckling all the way through. Nice performances from all involved, and a great soundtrack too.
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