Directed by John Duigan, starring Steve Coogan, Lena Headey, Stephen Dillane, Om Puri, Emma Williams, Steven Waddington and Ben Miller.

The Parole Officer is a crime caper centred on the hapless hero of the title (Coogan) who finds himself framed for murder by a crooked cop (Dillane). After the recruiting of a handful of his ex-clients, a ridiculous plan to rob a bank is hatched and a quirky new family of misfits is formed.

Exploiting the various talents of a roller coaster maintenance man (Puri), a fishmonger (Waddington) and a computer expert (Miller), as well as those of a teenage joyrider (Williams), an innocent man sets out to clear his name.

The movie is full of well-executed comic set pieces and unlikely stunts, along with the odd surprisingly crass or gruesome moment. Coogan trades on his familiar brand of fish-out-of-water comedy in his creation of the well meaning but amusingly inept central character who is given an opportunity both to prove his worth and get the girl (Headey).

A talented ensemble cast brings to life a series of idiosyncratic oddballs with both humour and affection while cameo appearances are made by Jenny Agutter and Omar Shariff.

This is a tightly, if absurdly, plotted film enhanced by skilful editing and the use of a lively soundtrack throughout. Very British in its locations and some of its characterisation, the tale of one man's determination that good will conquer evil is, of course, a timeless and universal one.

Essentially enjoyable stuff, 'The Parole Officer' takes a sometimes unpredictable route towards its inevitable feelgood conclusion, managing to indulge in a considerable amount of fun along the way. Highly watchable, if ultimately quite forgettable, entertainment.

Siobhán Mannion