Alright, I kinda knew I wouldn’t like this, but gave it a try because a friend said it was quite funny. It isn’t. Really, not funny at all. Sacha Baron-Cohen’s take on England football supporting ‘chav’ is just nasty. There might have been a germ of a good idea in here, a sort of Shameless meets Kingsman, but at every step it makes the wrong choice. The depiction of the working class is just sneering, the offensive humour just offensive, the jokes lacking in any irony. Even 15 year old boys will find this tiring.
There is a fine line between getting things right and missing completely – ask the sibling of a famous sports star who toils away in the lower leagues while their star sibling is awash with great wealth. A bit of physique difference, a subtle alteration in psychology, a smidgeon of talent – not much here and there, but it makes all the difference. When you’re making this kind of deliberately offensive comedy all those decisions have to be right for it to work, and here none of them do. By the time it gets to a testicle sucking scene (acting out the old Lone Ranger -Tonto joke) it is so tired, and trying so hard to shock that it becomes truly embarrassing to watch.
Maybe there is a case for making a meta-point about culture and racism here – we didn’t mind when it was the people of Kazakhstan being offended with Borat. There may be some truth in that. But it has to be funny first before you can make any claims about irony or justifications about cultural comment. And this isn’t. Not at all.