Saturday, 20 September 2014

Big Fat Gypsy Gangster (2011)

I went to the cinema - an increasingly rare thing for me to do - on Tuesday to watch Pride, and up until today and the moment I decided to put this disc into the DVD player and give it a spin I hadn't watched another film.

So I can safely say Pride really does come before a fall.

You could argue that Big Fat Gypsy Gangster is a knowing comedy that cannily mimics the awfulness of the kind of (roll out the) barrel scraping docufilms it is parodying.  

You can say that.

Or you could just say this is an utter farrago of drivel.

Ricky Grover, the stand up comedian, writer, actor, presenter and probably the only man in the world who can call himself both a former champion boxer and a former ladies hairdresser, created his alter ego Bulla in the late 90s/early 00s. A violent offender in the Charles Bronson mode (that's the notorious British prisoner, not the actor) Bulla has appeared on TV shows such as The 11 O'Clock Show, and Top Buzzer and, in print, as a columnist for Loaded magazine. A cult character, he gained a legion of fans both celebrity and Joe Public alike. But it's worth pointing out the pertinent phrase here is cult.

So was it a good idea for Ricky and his wife to pen a feature length adventure for Bulla in 2011?


Because a cult doesn't always mean small but notable acclaim and affection and because this is the result, and it's terrible. All the big celebrity fans such as Ray Winstone, Dizzee Rascal, Jamie Oliver and Jools Holland,  either failed to pick up Grover's calls or they wisely steered well clear of the straight to DVD mess. I suspect it was the latter! It left Grover with a woeful cast that includes the fraudster, sorry I mean 'Psychic', Derek Acorah, Big Mo from EastEnders, Rufus Hound,  Rochelle from shit girl band The Saturdays and Tulisa from the even shitter N-Dubz and, more recently, from tabloid headlines and the Old Bailey. In fairness he does get Peter Capaldi (a favour as the pair worked on the BBC4 sitcom Getting On, which the new Doctor Who directed) and Omid Djalili, but they're playing stereotypes of their better roles, with Capaldi reduced to a watered down Tuckeresque sweary rant and Djalili doing his usual foreigner from an indeterminate country schtick.  Speaking of stereotypes, Geoff Bell, Leo Gregory and Steven Berkoff also show up just to remind you what you're watching - something low budget, cockney obsessed, British and shit.

To be fair to Grover there are some funny little moments featuring his  enduring character but they only really raise a small smile and they're swamped by the loud and ill advised disarray all around it. It's hard to find anything likeable in a film that gleefully shows exchanges between a grown man and children that consists of each of them taunting one another with the words 'Paki' and 'Pikey' or that finds dwarves fighting one another hilarious, but Grover is just about it. Sadly, despite his large figure, it's just not enough.

On this evidence alone, Bulla is a load of old bollocks.

I paid a pound for this film....and I still feel robbed.

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