Review: ‘The Martins’

Neither outright comedy nor involving drama, "The Martins" is a scrappy, foul-mouthed showcase for English standup comic Lee Evans that's as gross and predictable as last week's TV dinner.

Neither outright comedy nor involving drama, “The Martins” is a scrappy, foul-mouthed showcase for English standup comic Lee Evans that’s as gross and predictable as last week’s TV dinner. Evans, best known to U.S. auds as Lars Smuntz in the 1997 “Mouse Hunt,” shows little star caliber in a mannerisms-free perf as an unsympathetic loafer determined to give his family a free holiday, with only co-star Kathy Burke providing some real emotion as his devoted wife. Pic did satisfactory business locally in its first frame but won’t export.

Jobless, working-class Robert Martin (Evans) is a compulsive competition enterer who feels he’s been cheated when a comfy middle-class couple (Frank Finlay, Barbara Leigh-Hunt) win a “dream” holiday. Hijacking their prize, and pursued by a cop (Lennie James), he and his appalling family — Angie (Bates), pregnant 14-year-old daughter (Terri Dumont), son (Eric Byrne) and mother-in-law from hell (Linda Bassett) — drive off to claim a cottage on the Isle of Man. Humor is largely of the ranting, four-letter variety and tech credits are basic. Color on print caught was lackluster, and soundtrack so boomy as to make the dialogue often incomprehensible.

The Martins

U.K.

Production

An Icon release of an Icon Entertainment Intl. presentation of a Tiger Aspect Pictures/Icon Prods. production, in association with the Isle of Man Film Commission. Produced by Greg Brenman, Dixie Linder, Bruce Davey. Executive producers, Peter Bennett-Jones, Paul Tucker, Ralph Kamp, Steve Christian. Directed, written by Tony Grounds.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor, Panavision widescreen), David Johnson; editor, Robin Sales; music, Richard Hartley; production designer, Michael Carlin; art director, Andrew Rothschild; costume designer, Stewart Meachem. Reviewed at UGC Trocadero 4, London, Sept. 20, 2001. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Lee Evans, Kathy Burke, Linda Bassett, Eric Byrne, Terri Dumont, Frank Finlay, Lennie James, Jack Shepherd, Mark Strong, Paddy Considine, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Lorraine Ashbourne, Ray Winstone.
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