As con artists they were hard to beat. But they were easy targets for LOVE.
Running Time: 109 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: 12
Country: United Kingdom
With its up-beat, idealistic representation of British humour, and soundtrack packed to the rafters with Brit-pop fad-bands (Space, The Wannadies and The Bluetones?!), Shooting Fish couldnt be any more mid-90s if it walked with a ridiculous swagger and proclaimed itself officially mad for it.
It stars Dan Futterman and Stuart Townsend as Dylan and Jez, a Yank and a Brit brought together in a remarkably sunny and colourful part of the UK. Both are orphans, and both struggle to find work despite possessing reasonable intelligence (Dylans dyslexic and Jez has got a degree in some useless subject or other) reason enough, if would seem, for the pair to strike up a close friendship and become partners-in-crime. In a nutshell, theyre scam artists, and this is a film about their scams with the minor side issue of a love interest thrown in, in the shape of a virtually-unrecognisable Kate Beckinsale.
Take away Townsends horrendous Gallagher Brothers haircut and Futtermans slick American poise, and its basically selling the same brand of cheeky-chappyness weve seen done a hundred times before (and better) in series after series of Only Fools and Horses. The trouble is, the comedy side of things here rarely produces a chuckle and, although the characters are likable enough, theyre just not particularly interesting.
Another problem with the film is that it constantly straddles the boundary between reality and nonsense of course theres nothing wrong with being rooted on either side, but theres always a nagging feeling that the film should at least make up its mind. As it happens were left with a plot more uneven than Townsends fringe, with ridiculous coincidences and contrivances popping up at every turn and various extra characters being introduced willy-nilly with little reason or explanation.
Theres nothing too terrible about Shooting Fish. The actings fine, it doesnt last too long, and that soundtrack is guaranteed to take you right back to the days when it was considered socially acceptable to have an anorak and a shit barnet. But if youre expecting anything more from it than the killing of a bit of time, youll be sorely disappointed.
It's Got: A trip to see Dogs: The Musical.
It Needs: To be considerably funnier.
DVD Extras A featurette, some actors soundbites (which seem strangely like theyve been ripped from the featurette), some extra behind-the-scenes footage, and a piece on actors research which finally provides concrete proof that petty crime is both big AND clever. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10
Alternatives:A Life Less Ordinary
An instantly forgettable experience.