Best

"Best" is simply the worst. Mary McGuckian's warts-and-all portrait of George Best, the Manchester United soccer star who dissipated a dazzling career in drink and partying, manages the feat of making a relentlessly dreary biopic of one of the most charismatic British sporting figures of the '60s and '70s. Premiered in the U.K. simultaneously on satcaster BSkyB and theatrically, this miscast and misconceived mishmash scores no goals.

With:
With: John Lynch, Ian Bannen, Jerome Flynn, Ian Hart, Patsy Kensit, Cal Macaninch, Linus Roache, Adrian Lester, David Hayman, James Ellis, Roger Daltrey, Clive Anderson, Sophie Dahl, Stephen Fry.

“Best” is simply the worst. Mary McGuckian’s warts-and-all portrait of George Best, the Manchester United soccer star who dissipated a dazzling career in drink and partying, manages the feat of making a relentlessly dreary biopic of one of the most charismatic British sporting figures of the ’60s and ’70s. Premiered in the U.K. simultaneously on satcaster BSkyB and theatrically, this miscast and misconceived mishmash scores no goals.

Framed as a long flashback when Best (John Lynch) hears of the death of Man U manager Matt Busby (the late Ian Bannen) in ’94, movie fast-forwards through Best’s Belfast youth and discovery by a soccer scout. Famed for his Beatles moptop and natural ability, Best soon makes as many headlines for his extracurricular activities, which earn him resentment from older teammates like Bobby Charlton (Jerome Flynn) and frequent verbal maulings from tough trainer Tommy Docherty (David Hayman) as he exhausts even Busby’s patience. Bannen briefly manages moments of dignity but the repetitive scenes of Best’s drinking and self-loathing quickly pall. Talented cast of non-look-alikes is squandered, Lynch’s hangdog perf charmless. Tech credits are undistinguished.

Best

U.K.

Production: An Optimum Releasing release of an IAC Film/Sky Films/Isle of Man Film Commission production, in association with Smoke & Mirrors Film Prods. and Pembridge Pictures. Produced by Mary McGuckian, Chris Roff, Elvira Bolz. Executive producers, Steve Christian, Guy Collins, Michael Ryan, John Lynch. Directed by Mary McGuckian. Screenplay, John Lynch, McGuckian.

Crew: Camera (Metrocolor B&W, Technicolor), Witold Stok; editor, Kant Pan; music, Mark Stevens; music supervisor, Don Gallacher; production designer, Max Gottlieb; art director, David Reid; costume designer, Aniusha Nieradzik; sound (Dolby), Jim Greenhorn, Simon Clark; script consultant, George Best; casting, John & Ros Hubbard. Reviewed at Century preview theater, London, May 5, 2000. Running time: 106 MIN.

With: With: John Lynch, Ian Bannen, Jerome Flynn, Ian Hart, Patsy Kensit, Cal Macaninch, Linus Roache, Adrian Lester, David Hayman, James Ellis, Roger Daltrey, Clive Anderson, Sophie Dahl, Stephen Fry.

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