Mel Smith (2003)

15 Certificate


Our Score
This thoroughly charmless comedy is rooted in the same kind of so-called humour that one hoped had died out in the 1970s with the likes of Bless This House and On the Buses. Paul Kaye plays Cliff Starkey, a young, obnoxious bad boy of bowls who's quite rightly blackballed by his stuffy Torquay club, then reluctantly re-instated to take on the visiting Aussie champions. The club needs the young rebel's prodigious talent to win the match, while Starkey can only prosper under the steadying influence of the club's veteran champ (James Cromwell). Can the home team triumph? Against the Aussies? Well, this is a fantasy after all, though one that is anything but convincing. Despite a likeable cast (that features Johnny Vegas and, surprisingly, Vince Vaughn), the laughs here are way off-target. This Brit-flop won't be bowling anyone over.


An unruly bowls player is banned from his stuffy local club - until the members realise they need his considerable talent to win a landmark victory against a formidable Australian team. Acquiring a flashy American agent, the bad boy of bowls finds himself partnered for the tournament with his old enemy, the club's disapproving veteran champion. Comedy, with Paul Kaye, James Cromwell, Bernard Cribbins and Vince Vaughn.

Cast & Crew

Cliff Starkey Paul Kaye
Ray Speight James Cromwell
Kerry Speight Alice Evans
Mutley Bernard Cribbins
Trevor Johnny Vegas
Rick Schwartz Vince Vaughn
Bridget Imelda Staunton
Alan the Pipe James Fleet
Giles Wilton David Ryall
Hugh the Sideburns Ian McNeice
Chairman Collins Kenneth Cranham
Mark Doohan Mark Little
Referee Tony Slattery
Jon Snow Jon Snow
BBC producer Robert Duncan
Director Mel Smith
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: IconGuidance: Swearing.Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 5 Sep 2003