Blackball (2003)

logoDirector: Mel Smith

Writer: Tim Firth (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Kaye, James Cromwell, Alice Evans, Bernard Cribbins, Johnny Vegas, Vince Vaughn, Imelda Staunton, James Fleet


Plot: Cliff (Kaye) is a loud mouth, fingers up to the rules bowler who eventually get banned by his local club by old school bowler Ray (Cromwell). After hearing about this American sports agent Rick (Vaughn) helps changes Cliff’s ways to make the image of the bad boy of bowls, but at a cost. This leads him to team up with Ray to take on the old enemy from down under the Australians.  


Verdict: First the only Bowls film?

Story: Let’s face it a film about lawn bowls isn’t going to bring in a crowd without a good story. This has a good story that reflects the real world view on bowls, full of rules that are for older generation. Cliff represents the new young generation that wants to just give a sport a go his way because everything has always been against him. The story also shows that however big you become you should remember the people that were there when you first started. (7/10)


Actor Review: Paul Kaye – Cliff the young man from the wrong side of town or thinks because he is from the wrong side of town will never get a chance to play the game he loves. Good performance that he gets to have a lot of fun with. (8/10)


Actor Review: James Cromwell – Ray the champion bowler who knows the rulebook inside out and that has total respect from his fellow club members. Perfect choice for the role in Cromwell, as he can play this role without any effort. (9/10)


Actor Review: Alice Evans – Kerry, Ray’s daughter and Cliff’s love interest who gets caught up in their rivalry. This character doesn’t make too much sense but Alice plays it well. (7/10)


Actor Review: Johnny Vegas – Trevor Cliff’s best friend who he gets up to all sorts of trouble with, but their friendship gets tested by Cliff’s new found success. Vegas does what he does well and makes us have the laughs.  (8/10)


Actor Review: Vince Vaughn – Rick the sports agent who makes Cliff the star and saves bowls from cancellation on TV. This is one of the first times Vince played a quick talking wise arse which he is well known for now. (8/10)


Director Review: Mel Smith – Good direction throughout the film to make a nice entertaining comedy. (8/10)


Comedy: Not the most laugh out loud but good for a few laughs. (6/10)

Believability: This is based on a true story of a player who got banned for writing tosser on a score card. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Torquay makes a great setting for this film. (9/10)

Suggestion: It would be hard to talk someone into watching this but as I am from a family that has played bowls for my whole life I see more humour in certain parts of it. I think even if you think bowls isn’t a sport for you, you should give it a go you may enjoy it. (Try It)


Best Part: The dinner after Cliff gets banned

Worst Part: The rules.

Funniest Scene: The dinner scene.

Trivia: Johnny Vegas was the only cast member who knew how to bowl and he doesn’t do any.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No


Overall: British Bowls Comedy Fun

Rating 70

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