A seriocomic look at soccer hooliganism, Czech style, “Non Plus Ultras” ambitiously balances sports violence with dark comedy but stumbles nobly under the load. Privately financed pic, which bowed in August 2004 and is already available domestically on DVD, has modest fest, theatrical and tube potential among soccer faithful.
A sturdy fan with uncommon smarts and manners, Beefy (David Novotny) lives in a cramped flat with mother Marie (Jana Hlavacova) and heads a misfit crew of Sparta Praha supporters headquartered in a pub run by Loyza (Oldrich Kaiser). When not participating almost reluctantly in match brawls, Beefy juggles the idiosyncrasies of his mates with family demands. These adventures grow to involve a pair of drunk, gay Blighty hooligans (John Early, Robert Orr) with loose bladders, an unannounced visit by Uncle Pepa (manic Jiri Labus), Marie’s adventures with a malfunctioning dishwasher and a hesitant relationship with a friend of his sister. Helmer Jakub Sluka is obviously fond of these eccentric misfits, though this compassion is often at odds with the brutish behavior and frequently cruel comedy. Short bursts of the Who’s “Who Are You?” push action along, but device wears thin.