Mike Bassett: England Manager Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 1, 2010
A wry dig at British football at the end of the 90's. We all know who it's about, it has its fun and you enjoy it because at the end of the day, as much as well screamed and shouted, we've all got a soft spot for old Mr. Turnip head! Ricky Tomlinson is ace as always and this is one of the better (and first) British mocumentary films!
'Do I not like that'! :oD
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2007
Great fun for all soccer fans, Tomlinson is great as the lead character and great enjoyment can be had trying to guess who the players are based on.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2008
This is quite a funny look at what happens when the Football Association put a manager from a lower league in charge of the international team.Cue some good gags and funny lines and the inevitable downfall of the England team.This isn't briliant but you do have a laugh along the way and you do feel sorry for Mike Basset at times,played well by Rick Tomlinson,as well as laugh along at his,and the teams,mistakes.Overall,a decent,watchable,if not great,comedy.
DrLappos
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2007
Really silly but watchable
½ July 24, 2007
Ricky Tomlinson continues his move from staple TV shows like "The Royle Family", "Playing the Field" and "Cocking Off" to the big screen. "Mike Bassett: England Manager" represents his biggest movie yet. He plays Mike Bassett, manager of Divison One team, Norwich City. After leading his club to victory in the Mr Clutch Cup, this old school manager is offered the job of England manager when it becomes clear that no one else wants it.

With three games left in their World Cup qualification program, he needs to win just one of them to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. Easier said than done. His England squad are a bunch of misfits. Centre back Wacko (Geoff Bell) is a violent 32 year old with more red cards than yellow, his midfield duo of Deano and Danny (John Alford - "Grange Hill", "London's Burning" and Dean Holness) are bereft of brain cells, star striker Smallsy (Robbie Gee) hasn't scored for two years and midfield genius Tonka, has a habit of self-destructing.

His coaching team are not much better. His assistant manager, Lonnie (Philip Jackson), is a used car salesman and coach Dave Dodds (Walsh - TVs "Wheel of Fortune", "Night and Day") is the ultimate "yes man".

The fans are dubious about Bassett as are the media. Tommo Thompson (Jupitus - TVs "Never Mind the Buzzcocks") is one such reporter, reasonable in his assertions and criticisms but perpetual in his desire to run Bassett out of the job. And there is plenty of ammunition for everyone as the team's performances go from bad to worse. But will Mike Bassett do the honourable thing and resign?

We keep tabs on Bassett's progress due to a "fly on the wall" documentary team who follow his every move. The documentary is narrated by Martin Bashir, who many will now recognise as the man who stuck nails in the coffin of Michael Jackson recently.

This is of course very similar to the "Do I Not Like That?" documentary that was produced on former England manager Graham Taylor in the early ninties. And if you look closely you can see that the Dave Dodds character is a parody of his assistant manager, Phil Neal, while the midfield talisman, Tonka, is clearly inspired by Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne.

But aside from all these obvious observations, the question is does "Mike Bassett: England Manager" entertain?

Well, not really. There's no doubt there are some amusing moments. The scene where the open-top bus (bringing the team through Norwich after the Mr Clutch Cup victory) takes a wrong turn is ultimately one of the best scenes. And Bassett's team selection goes haywire when his PA calls up everyone in the squad whom he has written on the back of a fag packet. Everyone.

But these moments are few and far between. If it wasn't for Tomlinson's superb portrayal of a limited but honest human, the movie would have fallen flat. Tomlinson's tries to bring some pathos to the character via his relationship with his family and a poetic appeal for calm on live TV. It doesn't quite work but one can see that it is not his fault.

Irish director Steve Barron ("Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Coneheads" as well as a-ha's most famous videos such as 'Take On Me' and 'The Sun Always Shines On TV') enjoys the documentary-approach and uses graphics and at times mimics a music video by using two or three different scenes on screen at the one time. It doesn't really add to much to the movie but he does he best to spice up a flat script.

"Mike Bassett: England Manager" is a time-waster and not a particularly good one at that. It's watchable, but my advice would be to rent "Fever Pitch" instead.
February 8, 2015
Fantastic football comedy.
½ May 8, 2014
funnier than expected could have been alot better but this mockumentary film about a lower league manager becoming the international english teams manager has a joke at every corner and a semi circle in the middle or something, also the lead is is your man out of the royle family i dont watch the royle family but my family like the royle family and i dont mean the royle family as in the queen and prince harry i mean the tv show the royle family not that my family have anything against the royal family im sure they dont, but they might.
½ October 2, 2012
This movie is just a must watch for all fotball fans, i laught my socks of :)
½ April 12, 2012
This is not a brilliant film. Mike Basset, England Manager, whilst at times funny, also has itâ(TM)s weak jokes. Unfortunately, the weak jokes outnumber the strong jokes immensely, and make it difficult to enjoy. One good aspect, thankfully, is Ricky Tomlinson, who unsurprisingly is a solid lead who carries the film, playing the buffoon of Mike Basset very well, as well as also hitting the best moment of the film, a poignant reading of âIfâ? by Rudyard Kipling which silences the journalists who doubt him.

Probably the best element of the film is the direction, the use of mockumentary for a football manager is an original idea, possibly inspired by a similar supposed documentary about Graham Taylor in 1994. It is good to see it from the Managerâ(TM)s point of view for once where he is destroyed for every little thing he does, and the movie stands up well even today when looking at how England Managers are treated. The supporting cast arenâ(TM)t particularly memorable, and sometimes are very one-dimensional, but then, so are most footballers, which probably makes the film suit more.

Overall, an okay film, mostly best for the style of direction and the âIfâ? speech.
July 18, 2011
Worth 5 stars just for the Mexico half time team talk alone
½ July 10, 2011
The mockumentry is clever and the direction great and the film so true to real life.

Pity the potential is lost at points in and get's boring, but it still keeps it going and results in a good film
June 5, 2011
He'd make a good England manager that Ricky Tomlinson. Its a comedy but actually a decent insight into the footballing mentality in theis country that produces the England teams we've been watching for the last 50 years. Like a self parody, not a funny one though.
May 24, 2010
a funny film that shows the pressure and frustration of an england manager but makes it hysterically funny.
½ February 17, 2010
Better than could be expected . If you dont like football then avoid this film like the plague ,if however you do enjoy the nations favourite sport this is a real gem . As long as you get all the in jokes you will be laughing for 90 mins .
½ August 5, 2009
If you love football and you love the English football team .... you must watch Mike Bassett: England Manager. This movie is wicked.... SWIVVLE ON IT ARGENTINA ...
February 21, 2005
Best in Show: Ricky Tomlinson
One for the future: Dean Lennox Kelly
Stand-out scene: The Hand of God 2
Brainer or no-brainer: Brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: Repeated
DVD commentary any good?: n/a

TV
I saw and loved the expletive-riddled Channel 4 documentary on the then England manager Graham 'Turnip' Taylor which was perhaps the catalyst for the development of this movie. It takes a mock documentary approach shadowing the trials and tribulations of the Mike Bassett (formerly of Norwich CIty) newly-appointed to the top coaching job for the national side. Riddled with in-jokes and football-related irony (the pick of which was the Hand of God 2), Shameless's Dean Lennox Kelly swaps his Manc accent for Geordie in a Gazza pastiche (he's such an easy target the jokes come thick and fast) and there's a role for comedian/DJ Phill Jupitus as a pessimistic reporter. Ricky Tomlinson is ideal as the embittered manager plucked from obscurity (no offence to Norwich) who makes a series of Turnip-headed decisions (I particularly liked him writing the names of the team on the back of a fag packet leading to the ageing, lower division players Benson and Hedges being recalled into the side). Ex- pro footballer Bradley Walsh gets a role as Bassett's right-hand man and there's a myriad of cameo appearances throughout the movie. The Wembley pitch was relaid for this movie, Forrest Gump-style technology deployed to expand the 600 extras that formed the crowd into a stadium full. Enjoyable.
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