*NEW* THE BAD EDUCATION MOVIE REVIEW *NEW*

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Bad, just plain bad.

Mr Wickers (Jack Whitehall) and his class go on one final school trip after they finish their GCSEs.

Well, that’s what I thought I was going to say.

Whitehall brings his BBC3 hit sitcom to a close with one final big screen outing. And probably for the best. It was hardly groundbreaking comedy BUT with a good episode, you could have a cringe-worthy laugh fest.

The first half of the film was brilliant. It was outrageous, cringe-inducing BUT funny. A drug-induced opening sequence at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam set up an unexpected homage to a classic Spielberg flick.

It was wrong, rude and deliciously bad taste. I had more fun watching the class’ actual trip down to Cornwall. It was the best part. Every supporting member having their chance to shine from Joe’s (Ethan Lawrence) attempt at pole dancing to Mitchell’s (Charlie Wernham – Hollyoaks) endless shenanigans.

The introduction of Joanna Scanlan (Stella/No Offence) as Joe’s mum was a welcome addition to the mix. The uptight guardian on the warpath to capture another cock up from the dysfunctional school teacher. One that will end his career once and for all.

For the first 40 minutes, I honestly wondered why this film had such a bad wrap? It was silly Inbetweeners style humour that hit the spot. Whitehall was on fine form as usual and really didn’t give a damn as he zip wired starkers through the Eden Project.

A revolting gag at a castle involving an ancient saint’s foreskin shouldn’t have worked BUT as much as I cringed, I couldn’t help BUT laugh.

Unfortunately, the road trip hit a major u-turn when it actually reached its destination. A crazy night out at a strip club certainly delivered the laughs BUT Whitehall really seemed to stretch out the gags for the rest of the film which made this a strenuous effort by the end.

I couldn’t believe that Jorah Mormont was in this. Iain Glen proved he was still up for a laugh and hasn’t gone too serious after Game of Thrones. However, I reckon quite a few GoT fans may view this as a step down. His introduction (unfortunately) was the tipping point for the film’s spiral into tedious mediocrity (Somebody ate a dictionary today). Creeping out of the woodwork as a Cornish resistance fighter.

The whole Cornwall revolution gag was a highly unfunny one. Desperate to break from England. This may strike a few chords after ‘Brexit’ BUT it killed a lot of the fun. What didn’t help was that Whitehall resorted to lazy stereotyping and class wars with his ‘Made in Chelsea’ chums. Talulah Riley (St. Trinians) was completely unnecessary in her cameo.

The only laugh I got out of that whole sequence was Alfie tea bagging a swan. You read that right? Ridiculous, stupid BUT oh so funny. He tried to bring some depth to the characters BUT it was never that sort of show so why should the film be any different?

It just didn’t work as Alfie failed to accept that he was being bullied while helping Joe conquer his own bullying problem. He tried to deliver a message and failed. The bickering between the school chums as they faced leaving school felt tacked on to fill the gag-less void. Shame.

Not even the re-introduction of Harry Enfield (Kevin and Perry Go Large), Matthew Horne (Gavin and Stacey) and Sarah Solemani (Him & Her) didn’t do anything to solve the problem. Brought in for one last hurrah. If anything, they should have stayed at home. Shame.

It was watchable and fans of the show will enjoy it. BUT if anything it was nothing more than a mediocre feature length episode. And maybe its conclusion was for the best.

2.5/5

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GET SANTA REVIEW

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Get on it!

Jim Broadbent dons the red suit and white beard and leads a sterling British cast in this fun (but flawed) Christmas cracker.

Writer/director Christopher Smith has taken the same old Santa spiel and re-worked it into something quite different and entertaining.

So what’s it all about? (Besides the obvious implications of the title) A father (Rafe Spall) and son (Kit Connor) team up to save Christmas after discovering Santa Claus (Broadbent) sleeping in their garage and on the run from the police.

A breath of fresh air! I was surprised at how little this film was marketed at the cinemas. It’s not without it’s imperfections but I can certainly commend it’s originality. Execution on the other hand? Ho, ho, ho, here we go.

Broadbent brings St Nick to life brilliantly and delivered the charm by the stocking full. He was everything I expected. Funny, endearing and entertaining. It always helps in these family holiday films to have a likeable cast.

Connor (An impressive debut from the little chap) and Spall (X + Y) were fantastic together. They played the parts well and made the father/son dynamic work.

Spall’s dead pan delivery certainly made for some cracking one liners. His reaction when Tom tells him he’s found SC in the garage; “Are you in the garage with a man? Pass the phone to your mum”. Priceless.

The prison angle was a fresh take. Recently released from prison, Steve is desperate to be a good dad. Little does he know that his prison ties will be more important than ever. His quest for redemption certainly had a little more substance to the usual Christmas father/son squabbles.

The idea of SC incarcerated was a perfect platform for some fun gags. I smiled a lot more than I expected and was surprised at the stars that popped up in this.

Matt King (Super Hands from Peep Show) featured as a miserable and unsatisfied prison guard. To be honest, his character was nowhere near as good as I hoped. If anything, he was a little flat. Even the OTT comical punch up between him and Warwick Davis (Harry Potter) left little to be desired.

Davis, on the other hand, was quite good. Of course, lazy elf gags galore were thrown at the poor chap but his retorts and sarcastic jibes made up for it.

And what was Combo from This is England doing in this?! Stephen Graham’s turn as The Barber was an unexpected delight. Good to see he can still have a laugh and that he’s not too big for the small Brit pics. His tough guy training sesh with Broadbent was almost worth the ticket alone.

I was in stitches watching ol’ SC strutting around the gaff with corn locks. Throw in a cheeky slow mo tough guy montage to a bit of Ice Cube for good measure? Yes please.

Joanna Scanlan (Stella) played the delightfully unpleasant parole officer with aplomb. BUT apart from stomping about and carrying a toad in tow (You read that right), she didn’t really do much else.

Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch) was wasted in her role. Apart from a few awkward exchanges (and rightly so) between her character and Steve, she didn’t really pop back up until the final moments.

The reindeer were quite funny for the little ‘uns. Especially the deceptive Dasher (who manages to break into vans without explanation). He can’t talk but he can communicate. And of course being a children’s movie, he does so by farting. That’s right. Communicating through farts (Come on, we’re better than that).

Although Spall trying to remain serious as the furry critters trumped away was quite funny.

Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) was really irritating as the over-enthusiastic and deluded PC Finkerton. He did my nut in.

Unfortunately, for every clever little prison gag, there were a dozen recycled ones. BUT there was still fun to be had. A cheeky Shawshank Redemption reference shouldn’t have worked but it got a little nod from me.

For the little ‘uns, you have Big Nick firing a tommy gun of reindeer droppings in a high speed police chase.

The animation was a little cartoony for me. Especially in the letter tunnel when Steve and Tom are transported to Lapland. BUT their sleigh ride was brilliantly captured. Santa’s gadgets were quite cool. His slinky/chimney expander was a nifty little trinket.

I know it’s a Christmas film BUT it skimmed through a number of plot holes. Look, I’m prepared to except all the rubbish about SC and the reindeer flight paths (It’s a kids film after all) BUT breaking out of secure prisons so flippantly? Come on now.

It wrapped things up a little too quickly. For a moment, I wondered if Smith was going to play on the “Is he/isn’t he SC?” spiel a little more as Steve fears that he’s helping a chap who is nothing more than a petty criminal.

I loved its originality but was a little disappointed in its execution as it raced to its shamefully predictable, corny and rushed finale.

BUT I had a lot more fun than I expected and it wasn’t the worst way to kill 90 minutes.

2.5/5.