Eaten By Lions Review

Eaten By Lions
When their beloved grandmother dies, orphaned half-brothers Omar (Antonio Aakeel) and Pete (Jack Carroll) find life with discriminatory relatives Ellen (Vicki Pepperdine) and Ken (Kevin Eldon) so uncomfortable that they decide to go to Blackpool to find the father Omar has never met. But things don't go according to plan.

by David Parkinson |
Published on
Release Date:

22 May 2018

Original Title:

Eaten By Lions

British cinema is going through a seaside phase, with Bournemouth (K-Shop), Southend (VS.), Weymouth (Two For Joy) and Margate (Jellyfish) being depicted as oases of fading glory caught in a time warp. Switching from the Calais Jungle of In Another Life, sophomore director Jason Wingard remains by the coast for a culture-clash comedy that presents a very different side of Blackpool to the one seen in David Blair's Away. The humour has a ’70s sitcom feel, but there's more of a whiff of Bhaji On The Beach than Curry And Chips about this amiable outing.

With their mother having been eaten by lions on the holiday of a lifetime, half-siblings Pete (Carroll) and Omar (Aakeel) are drawn closer together when their aunt and uncle make it clear that they would rather adopt a nephew with cerebral palsy than Indian blood. However, in leaving Bradford for Blackpool to find Omar's father, the duo soon find themselves reliant on the comfort of strangers after losing their luggage and cash.

Well-meaning and amusing.

Teetering on caricature, Tom Binns' phony fortune teller and Johnny Vegas' seedy B&B owner would be at home in a Carry On movie, while there's a Goodness Gracious Me feel about the Indian family reluctant to accept Omar as one of their own. But, while the script frequently betrays co-writer David Isaac's experience on Citizen Khan and Coronation Street, it keeps raising smiles by hitting its socio-cultural targets with sly precision rather than drum roll and cymbal panache.

Antonio Aakeel and Jack Carroll make a decent double act, although their respective romantic subplots with the pink-haired Sarah Hoare and the electively mute Natalie Davies rather knock the action off course in the final strait. Aakeel's attempts to bond with man-child father Irfan (Asim Chaudhry) also fall flat. But, otherwise, this is well-meaning and amusing.

Making splendid use of its seaside setting and cannily exploring issues of xenophobia, integration, disability and family, this isn't particularly original. But its heart is definitely in the right place.
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