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Fisherman’s Friends: One And All (12A, 112 minutes)
“My name is Leadville Triplecock and I am politically incorrect.” I’ll just leave that here for now. Remember the short lived sea shanty craze of a couple of years ago? It came about from the somewhat unexpected success of the 2019 film which told the true story (the words based on…no doubt taking a fair bit of artistic licence) of a group of singing Cornish fishermen.
Of course, if something works once, film studios, and indeed record companies, see it as a formula to exploit and so, like that difficult second album we have what one could reasonably expect is going to be a sequel of diminishing returns – and judging from the lack of official stills, the film’s distributors have the same expectations.
Yet there I was, on a Friday afternoon, in a cinema I’m used to occupying almost alone for review purposes, surrounded by people laughing out loud to formulaic skits straight out of the Full Monty book of clichéd cheeky but harmless comedy.
But even though my taste in salty sea dog songs tends to lean more towards the 1970 Procal Harum classic A Salty Dog and Mountain’s rocker Nantucket Sleighride, this Pitch Perfect with bushy beards and big jumpers is not without its charm.
Much of that charm comes from Imelda May, in her first acting role, who takes to it like a duck to water.
And while just listening to Imelda’s lovely rich Irish brogue would be more than enough for me (she could record the phone book and I would listen to it all the way through), she gets to sing a few lines too, which is an added bonus.
The Friends are dealing with their newfound fame following the success of their first album and subsequent tour (which seems to be a nice way of saying hen parties in the north west) in the wake of the death of group founder, Jago.
Son Jim (James Purefoy) is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his dad and a level of fame where his every slip is fodder for the media.
But there’s more to this sequel than sex and drugs and rock and roll (or rather, texts and scotch and shanties). As an observation on bereavement and grief it manages to press all the right buttons while still being shamelessly manipulative and never leaving you in any doubt that everything will be fine in the end, including an appearance on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
Speaking of the end, up go the lights and I find I’ve been sitting in the middle of what appears to be an outing for a large group of OAPs who probably think that the aforementioned Mr Triplecock (I Am Daniel Blake star, professional Geordie Dave Johns), really is a singing Cornishman.
And I realise this film has already found its audience.
My name is Mick Ferris and I am politically incorrect.