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Wise Guys (2004)

 -  Comedy | Short | Crime  -  18 October 2004 (UK)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 19 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

As far back as he can remember, 11-year-old schoolboy William wanted to be a gangster.

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Title: Wise Guys (2004)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Anthony Martin ...
William
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jonathon Carlin ...
Bobby
Anthony Marlin ...
William
James McAnerney ...
Roberto
Lorraine McIntosh ...
Pauline
Jamie Quinn ...
Michael
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As far back as he can remember, 11-year-old schoolboy William wanted to be a gangster.

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Comedy | Short | Crime

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18 October 2004 (UK)  »

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Amusing but too obvious and not as inventive as it needed to be
4 December 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As far back as he could remember, schoolboy Michael has always wanted to be a gangster. When he and his friends get jobs delivering free newspapers they quickly tire of it until they decide to dump the papers and claim they are delivering them. Michael has his eyes on the beautiful Ann-Marie and wants the money to impress her and win her over, while Bobby and Michael just want money for sweets. Either way they build on their newspaper racket, getting more cash until the point where things come to a head.

From the opening scene, with the mock Scottish accents this is an obvious spoof on Goodfellas that has some value in being the only full spoof of that film I know of, but not enough merit on its own to really be worth hunting out. When Michael is slapped for talking to himself when he says the 'as far back' line, I thought the film would then step back and be more of its own beast, but it doesn't, it keeps to the mould of the first scene and is full of very direct copies of Goodfellas scenes with only the idea of it being with Scottish schoolboys being the source of humour. It has its own plot of course but it feels like this is forced into setting up the spoofs rather than being written first.

Personally I love the TV show Spaced, full of spoofs and references galore but there they are done with invention and wit, within the frame of a story – so that the references are not the whole ball game. With Wise Guys this wit is lacking and at times it just feels like it is taking the obvious choices. The cast don't do much to help because they have nothing to really work with other than aping the performances in the movie. The kids are OK I guess but did we really need some of them (Quinn in particular) to talk in forced 'Noo Yark' accents? Lorraine McIntosh of Deacon Blue fame makes a brief appearance as well.

Overall this is amusing but it takes all the easy options and forgets to have its own ideas or wit. With only spoof copies of key Goodfella's scenes, the film begins to run out of steam before it has reached the end (it is really the same gag over and over again) even though it is only 10 minutes long. Nice idea but badly set up, missing the laughs that a lighter touch or more subtle spoof (homage?) would have had.


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