| Purely Belter
Director Mark Herman
Writer Mark Herman, based on The Season Ticket by Jonathan Tuloch
Stars Chris Beattie, Greg McLane, Charlie Hardwick, Tim Healy, Roy Hudd
Running time 95 minutes
Made UK 2000
Reviewed by The Wolf
SENTIMENTALITY and deprivation sit uncomfortably together in this homegrown comedy from the man who made Brassed Off.
Mark Herman seems reluctant to go all out for gags without reminding his audience that growing up poor in the North East is hard.
Gerry and Sewell bunk off school, because they see no point in it. All they need is 500 quid for a season ticket to watch Newcastle FC. They stop glue sniffing, boozing, buying fags to become budding entrepreneurs.
Shoplifting proves the most lucrative. Gerry is the smallest and smartest, while Sewell is a big slob of a lad with no imagination. As well as adopting a cuddly wee dog and stealing Alan Shearer's sports car, the lads have a great year. Trying, after all, is a whole lot more fun than sitting in the house waiting for winter.
The Ken Loach influence does not mix with the wacky scams and the wacky scams do not appear remotely possible. When in need of an emotional, artistic moment, Herman cobbles together a scene under The Angel Of The North.
This could have been so light and loose in a Shane Meadows/John Godber kind of way. Instead, Herman can't help being political. The working-class may be a dying breed, but in Geordieland, where Saint Kevin is still remembered with affection, death is spiritual as well as financial.
A season ticket may not be the Holy Grail, but the dream of it is more nutritious than a bag of soggy chips on a rainy Wednesday lunchtime.