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Jay Richardson

Published March 12th, 2004 | by Jay Richardson

One Last Chance Review

Classification: 15 Director: Stewart Svaasand Rating: 3/5

A so-so Scottish comedy and first feature from writer-director Stewart Svaasand, One Last Chance should resonate with anyone who’s ever lived in a one-horse town, but it’s a slight, patchy affair. There’s some well-known faces supporting Jamie Sives (Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself) in the lead role, including Kevin McKidd, James Cosmo and Dougray Scott, who also produces, but the plot unfolds too lethargically to successfully paper over the cracks between good gags.

Stuck in the dead-end Highland village of Tullybridge, Fitz (Sives) is desperate to find his senile father a retirement home and escape with girlfriend Barbara (Neve McIntosh) from a place where each Christmas, “every bastard who’s ever left comes back for their annual gloat.” His friends Nellie (Iain Robertson) and Seany (Kevin McKidd) just want to make some money, but Fitz needs a £1000 bribe to push his father up the home’s waiting list. Being a jobless slacker, he’s going nowhere fast until some local old boy croaks and Fitz discovers gold clenched in his fist. Aided by his pals, he conspires to sell the gold to local wheeler dealer and curling club luminary Frankie the Fence (Dougray Scott). But a succession of misadventures sees them get involved with local godfather Big John (Cosmo) and exploited by the curling club’s old boy network, whilst occasional twists of stupidity and fate create darker moments that’s are completely out of tone with the would-be knockabout laughs. Though watchable throughout, it’s all a bit of a mess.

The trio of young desperadoes are likeable enough, but the banter between them feels forced and the role of Neve requires little more than to look pretty and concerned. Scott’s casting smacks of trying to give the film a higher profile than it deserves, and while Cosmo could play Big John in his sleep, the character is overweight with cliché, despite having the film’s funniest moment at his grandson’s football match. Worth a titter or two, Svaasand’s script takes too long to reach its contrived ending, and jokes like pouring sugar into the petrol cap of an enemy’s van should surely have been retired years ago.


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