For what is essentially a light-hearted comedy, The Shouting Men takes a depressingly melancholic course in its second half when one character suffers a horrendous turn of fate. What is a passable film up to this point anyway, it then takes a complete nosedive. The disappearance of humour, sugary sentiment and predictability take over as the film nears its end.
The Shouting Men is a British comedy based on an unlikely bunch of football fans, Gillingham supporters, as they venture oop north to watch an FA Cup tie against Newcastle United. It’s a road movie with a minibus for the mentally ill instead of Harleys, one that’s less concerned with actual football and more about the banter between fans as well as constructing a series of increasingly unfortunate and amusing circumstances to place the group in.
The characters themselves are endearing, with a variety unique ‘personalities’: there’s the overtly aggressive wheelchair-bound one, the one ‘oo ate all the pies, the sex-crazed golden oldies, the slag and the likeable loser responsible for playing team captain. But each one is no more than a one-dimensional chassis for their respective personalities. The fat bastard loves pies. We get it. And how ironic! The cripple loves to start a scuffle, but so much as fray a fibre of his Gills shirt and you’ll burn in hell! As for the story, it’s more blatantly obvious than a Thierry Henry handball and the direction is functional at best, with far too many gags simply falling flat, delivered with a distinct lack of comic timing.
Watching The Shouting Men is like watching your kid with two left feet play football for the local under 11s. You will him on, wanting him to be good. There’s occasionally the dimmest spark of flair and he’s certainly not an unpleasant lad, but frankly he’s shit and you can’t wait for the 90th-minute.