2008 Certificate: 12

Synopsis

By day, Richard (Eddie Marsan) is a lowly serf in a DIY store. But by weekend, he is Iron Age warrior Readmund the Just, a key player on Worcester's battle re-enactment scene. Alas, his wife (Jessica Hynes) and son have had enough of his Norse nonsense. Forced to move in with his Trekkie pal (Ewen Bremner), our hero faces a real fight to win back fair maiden. Created through Myspace as "the world's first fully user-generated feature film", what could have been a case of ‘too many cooks' turns out to be a cheerfully corny, laugh-out loud treat.

Director

  • Vito Rocco

Cast

  • Eddie Marsan

  • Jessica Hynes

  • Ewen Bremner

  • Tim Healy

Review

With the denizens of Myspace choosing the director, contributing to the script and soundtrack, and even landing key roles, this FilmFour-backed venture had all the ingredients of a made-by-committee nightmare.

But, by Odin, it's a totally unexpected hoot.

Eddie Marsan is Richard, a never-grown-up who lives to do battle alongside his role-playing brethren, 'The Bloody Broadswords'. But when the weekend warrior misses his father-in-law's funeral, it's the final straw for his exasperated wife Cath (Jessica Hynes).

Banished to live with his Star Trek-obsessed best mate Julian (Bremner) - at his mum's house, naturally - Richard's hopes of reconciliation are dashed when Cath starts dating their son's slimy P.E. teacher (Eastenders regular Paul Williams).

Can the wounded hero find the spirit to pick up the gauntlet and regain his honour? As long as the gods (and Wulfram the binman) are with him, he just might.

With ideas presumably coming from every which way, director Vito Rocco and credited writer David Lemon have done a terrific job in creating one of the most consistently funny and winning Brit-coms of recent years.

Whether visual or verbal, subtle or sledgehammer, nearly all the gags work because none of them feel forced. So much credit to an engaging cast whose most effective weapon is deadpan delivery.

The unassuming Marsan is never far from our screens for a reason, while Bremner is on top form as the geek whose misadventures in an internet chatroom eventually lead him to his soul-mate (The Commitments' Bronagh Gallagher).

TV stalwarts Hynes, Tim Healy and Anne Reid also complement the various Myspace-selected newcomers, amongst whom Craig R. Wright makes a marvellously punchable impression as Richard's jobsworth boss.

Impressively shot in and around Worcester and Shropshire's Ludlow Castle, Rocco also proves that low-budget doesn't necessarily mean cheap.

So while the ending may be battle-worn (mirroring Hollywood comedy Role Models which had megabucks thrown at it), nobody could quarrel that as escapist nonsense goes, there's nothing faint-hearted about it.