Blighty’s mid-1980s battles between publishers and print unions provide the unlikely backdrop for “Outside Bet,” a strained caper about a bunch of south London pals who pool their resources to buy a racehorse. Neither especially funny nor dramatic, and a bad fit for festival play, theatrical exhibition and export, this low-budget ensembler looks likely to end up at the glue factory. Cast names may ensure a few local ancillary parlays.
Mark “Bax” Baxter (Calum MacNab) has followed his now-cancer-stricken father (Phil Davis) into a typesetting job for Global News (a thinly disguised stand-in for Rupert Murdoch’s News Intl.). With redundancy looming, he inspires his friends and colleagues — notably barmaid/love interest Katie (Emily Atack), perennial sidekick Mickey (Jason Maza), mod-culture aficionado Sam (a randomly cast Adam Deacon) and union rep Smudge (Bob Hoskins) — to invest their dreams and savings in racetrack glory. Mild comedy, generic inspirational dialogue and a jukebox of 1980s pop hits (“Vienna,” “Don’t You Want Me”) ensue, but the repeated missteps amid road apples are a poor substitute for actual wit, and surprises are negligible. Tech contributions are adequate.