Up 'N' Under Review

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A comedy about Humberside amateur rugby starring TV types. No more, no less. But you might expect more because this is the film writing/directing debut by stage/TV writer John Godber.

Reg (Slattery) is the rich and slimy manager of the unbeaten Cobbler's Arms rugby sevens side. Being rich and slimy, everyone hates him but none so much as former rugby league pro Arthur (2.4 Children's Olsen) who bets him he can coach any team to beat Reg's. So Reg suggests The Wheatsheaf Arms - who only have five players. Naturally, Arthur bets his life savings and doesn't back out when he sees them play, instead dusting off his old boots to join and coach them, enlisting a gym owner (Game On's Janus, usually half-dressed) to get them fit.

Ironically, since it was being shot last February - long before anyone had queued round the block to watch six blokes get their kit off - this often threatens to use its six-blokes-against-all-odds line-up to leap into Full Monty territory. It never succeeds but is, occasionally, funny.

Olsen is good value but Morrissey gets all the big laffs because he transplants Men Behaving Badly's Tony (occasionally even giving him a "northern" accent) into a pair of rugby shorts. But this demonstrates the film's greatest failing: it is cast- rather than character-driven. Cameos come thick and fast from Griff Rhys-Jones (as a useless commentator), John Thomson (a landlord), Susan Tully (an EastEnder in Yorkshire) and the late, great Brian Glover (stealing the show as Arthur's grumpy father-in-law).

The closing reel of the grudge game itself is daft but amusing, but long before then it's clear that British cinema should be more than familiar faces doing their small screen schtick in a sitcom stretched over an hour-and-a-half.