Directed by Peter Cattaneo, starring James Nesbitt, Lennie James and Olivia Williams.
The British film industry must believe that Peter Cattaneo is, like the Pope, infallible. That is the only possible reason why he could have gotten funding for 'Lucky Break', his follow up to smash hit 'The Full Monty'. Fans will find this as big a let down as the discovery that their dad was Santa Claus.
The plot focuses on a ludicrous prison escape, hatched by Jimmy (Nesbitt) and his partner in crime disaster Rudy (James). The escape plan involves the staging of a musical based upon Admiral Nelson's life, but is frustrated by the efforts of a sadistic guard, the prison hard man and Jimmy falling for psychologist Annabel (Williams).
Cattaneo leaves no stone unturned in including every prison cliché you have ever seen: the upper-class fool of a Prison Governor, the pretty, liberal do-gooder, the depressed family man and the criminal scouser are all present and correct. If this all sounds rather familiar then you have probably seen 'Porridge', which is what this is like - a feature length sitcom with half the laughs.
All the actors put in decent performances but are frustrated by a script that swings from the sublimely stupid to the appallingly awful. Its liberal fantasy of good cons and bad cons is played for laughs here in the most awful and sinister way. Only Cattaneo could throw up a maximum-security prison, where the inmates are all terrified of a violent criminal.
With few laughs and even fewer insights into the human condition, this film lurches uneasily between cheap gags and emotional manipulation. Cattaneo came up with the idea for 'Lucky Break' while sitting in the bath; I would suggest that rather than filming it, he should have gotten out of the bath, put this abomination where it belongs, and flushed.