Tag Archives: bank heist

The Parole Officer: A Coogan-y Film

I must admit I was excited to see Steve Coogan’s face on the cover of this movie on my Netflix. 2001 is a bit iffy for comedies for me (I’m a 200 and late… -r), but this one did the job for the most part. Steve Coogan wasn’t at top form (a bit of a problem) but I got through it all the same. The first scene was promising, but you can only be so outrageous before nobody watches your movies…

The story of The Parole Officer is a pretty straightforward one. Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, and awkward and sad probation worker (confusing movie title, I

All too true…

know…). He is being transferred to another city (Manchester, I believe) and he’s going to be attempting to correct those sorry crooks that litter the streets of England. What he stumbles upon is something a bit more intense. A fellow officer in crime prevention, Inspector Burton (Stephen Dillane), commits a murder that is caught on security camera. Holding the evidence in his possession, Burton the crooked cop is planning on framing Garden if he tattles. Not wanting this being held over his head, Garden employs the help of the only four former criminals he corrected in robbing a bank with the tape inside. Oh, the comedic irony.

The most awkward place for Coogan? Strip club.

It’s pretty cut and dry from there. The movie has some of Coogan’s own brand of awkward comedy, but not enough to make it a signature film of his. (I’d say Hamlet 2 is more his style.) You get an awkward sense of Alan Partridge, but it comes up short of expectations. The acting is fine and the movie is dated, which always makes it a bit hard for me to watch. But overall, think Johnny English with dry comedy instead of slapstick. You got this film right there.

There are a couple of great little parts other than the versus mode of Coogan/Dillane. There’s Ben Miller as Colin, one of Garden’s former clients. Being Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in Johnny English, it was a nice change to see him delivering comedy more than being the straight actor taking it all in. There’s Lena Headey as a watered down version of the strong British actress she will one day become in things like 300 and Game of Thrones. Not the most adequate of cops, it

Team of crack cons, assemble!

always gets weird whenever Coogan lays his puffy lips on a love interest in a movie. And then there’s a non-speaking cameo from Simon Pegg in the art gallery scene. I had no idea what to expect there. But worth a laugh.

The bank heist is a little above my understanding with some strange technology lingo and complicated means of infiltration, leaving part of the movie as bland. The back and forth between the cons was fine, although overall it lacked a certain star quality for me that would’ve

Aha! I’m Simon Garden.

sent the jokes home better. It really was an all eyes on Coogan film for me. Throw in some slapstick/situational comedy towards the end (and a break-in scene reminiscent of The Dark Knight) and you have yourself a throwback to the 1950’s heist movies. Not a bad roll into one.

Not one of my favorites, but not the worst Coogan attached film I’ve seen. I still feel like one of my only friends who actually recognized/knew Coogan in Tropic Thunder, something that saddens me to this very day. But it’s not about notoriety or popularity. There are those of us out there who salute Steve Coogan for his amazing contribution to the world of comedy. He deserves a ranking up there with Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas/David Walliams, and even Monty Python. Can’t get enough of those Brits. For this, I give The Parole Officer a 6.8 out of 10.

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Setup… Really?

Basic.

It is not wrong when I say that 50 Cent is the best actor in this film. Nor is it wrong to say that I watched this movie for 50 Cent and 50 Cent alone. He is my guilty pleasure actor. No matter what he does, I have to see it. He got me through some thuggish times in 8th grade…

Setup is the story of 50 Cent, better known in this film as Sonny. One of the most un-hoodrat names I’ve ever heard, but what can you do? Sonny has two friends, Vincent (Ryan Phillippe) and Dave (Brett Granstaff). They plan a heist and do the job. On a dock somewhere nearby, they stop. Vincent gets out and betrays Sonny and Dave by shooting them in the chest. For Sonny, this means revenge. For Dave, this is a metaphor for his career. Goodbye Dave.

This film, although a 50 Cent joint, was so unremarkable to me. The people that they robbed were planned ahead of time and “set-up” 50 and the gang. Vincent/Phillippe is a whiny, strange wigger biatch who deserves what he gets coming at the end. His lady gets glass coffee tabled and this strange Hispanic assassin who does it comes up like a deadly fairy. And here we go with another Lucky Number 7leven situation again. Bruce Willis comes in as this eccentric, unemotional crime boss, Jack Biggs. His part is simple, and, more importantly, basic. I could not even say that his acting was decent in this film. 50 Cent blew everyone out of the water.

Let's cheers to my horrible acting, for I am Bruce Willis.

One scene I will say I enjoyed in this movie was the Randy Couture scene. This MMA fighter is the biggest fool of them all and, when they say don’t play with a loaded gun, he does. In one of those corny lines (“Don’t shoot yourself”) Randy thinks his massively shaved head will shield any incoming projectiles. Lesson is, you will end up in some strange chemical factory chop shop were you go through this darkly satirized meat grinder.

Three big old gangsters, in a van. Bye Dave.

The mob guys are lame and there’s this odd standoff between the gangsters of the street and the high end Italian gangsters (if that was what they were going for…). The plot is basic, the characters are basic, and 50 Cent steals the show. I don’t know what more to say. That arms dealer was mad funny though. I give him props for making one of the darker scenes of the movie really funny. But you can’t make one good 5 minute scene and an hour and 35 minutes of crap. It just can’t make up for it. But I gotta give my props to 50 Cent. He pulled this up from a 1 out of 10 to a 2.6 out of 10. Way to go.

Word! Randy Couture!