Footballing nostalgia meets a classic coming of age tale in this lightweight, well-intentioned British comedy…
It’s 1969 and Brenock O’Connor plays our hero, an ardent young fan of Britain’s worst football team, Bromley FC. He is a somewhat friendless school boy whose intense love for his local club drives his every waking thought; he devotes all his free time to the team whether that’s analysing their tactics in depth, replaying matches with toys at home or gathering even the blandest of trivia together in a large scrapbook. O’Connor’s performance captures the intensity with which teenage obsessions can take hold of us, whether that be for a band, TV show or sport, and allows those of us who are not football fans to relate to his passion and understand something of what drives him through the plot’s mechanisms.
Early on we learn that the team is in danger of relegation and from there the film plays out in predictable Brit-com style. We have O’Connor’s character teaming up with a misfit group of Bromley fans in order to try and save the club through various ill-conceived plans. An inevitable budding young relationship is thrown into the mix in order to meet the coming of age movie requirements. There are no surprises here and its attempts at comedy misfire as regularly as hitting home, however the film’s sentimental nature is endearing and it’s not especially taxing to go along for the ride if you’re looking for a light, Sunday afternoon comedy.
The film often stretches credibility to breaking point, the film’s central misunderstanding being one extreme example. However, the fact that it is a loose adaptation of Dave Roberts memoir grants a certain suspension of disbelief and this just about carries the film past its more unbelievable moments. Helping to guide the film through are the underused Alan Davis and Martine McCutcheon who make welcome appearances as Roberts’ loving, if slightly concerned parents. They do well with what they are given but the restrictive nature of their roles does add to the TV film feel.
The Bromley Boys could have aimed higher and its reliance on nostalgia and O’Connor’s charismatic performance are not enough to truly make up for its shortcomings. However, it’s charming enough and can be enjoyed by anyone of any age – football fanatic or not.
The Bromley Boys is completing it’s US Theatrical run and shall soon be available for UK home viewing.