CALCIUM KID, THE: DVD
Amateur boxer Jimmy Connolly (Orlando Bloom) loves his day job as a milkman. With eyes on one day becoming a regional manger for his beloved Express Milk Dairies, Jimmy is a picture of contentment on his daily milk run. However, during a training session at his local gym, Jimmy accidentally injures the British contender for the middle weight championship of the world, and when the fight's promoter and gym owner Herbie Bush (Omid Djalili) chooses Jimmy to replace him in the upcoming title fight, "The Calcium Kid" must put all his energies into becoming a great fighter, sacrificing all that he loves in the process.
Review by Craig Miller:
Ever since Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer captured the essence of a washed-up fictitious metal band in Rob Reiner's wonderfully satirical 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, the fly-on-the-wall styled documentary spoof has become a genre unto itself. Countless films and television shows have mimicked the popular style to varying degrees of success, with the small independent British film, The Calcium Kid, just another in a long list of attemptees that try to replicate the magic Reiner, Guest, McKean and Shearer conjured up, but unfortunately without the talent and class.
Set in the world of professional boxing, Alex De Rakoff's directorial debut about a young milkman/amateur boxer who lucks his way into the middle weight championship title fight when he unwittingly injures a fellow boxer during a sparring session, is rich in concept and often hints at a knowledge of real comedy, but the successful execution of the mockumentary style is sadly lacking.
The action is far too dramatised to work as a documentary spoof, and the snappy editing and various musical interludes leave the film without that natural, off-the-cuff feel that defines the genre and makes it work so well. Sometimes it's hard to tell what De Rakoff is trying to do with this material, as the film switches between the drama and documentary styles so often that an overall flow is virtually non-existent.
Orlando Bloom as the kind-natured, boxing/milkman Jimmy shows an acting side we are not used to seeing, but even his performance is a little over-the-top, as are most of the performances, which all seem much too scripted with the character relationships too engineered and lacking spark. A few of the minor roles are nicely filled by Rafe Spall as Orlando's onscreen best mate Stan, a British version of trailer trash and a full on scrapper, and Michael Pena as the world middle weight champ and boxing sensation Jose Mendez. There's a real understanding for the material shown by these two and, without them, this film would have fallen away very quickly.
If there is one sport that is begging to have the piss taken out of it, it would have to be professional boxing. Biting ears off opponents, press conference punch-ups, men the size of tractors with tiny voices, it's got the works. As a feature, The Calcium Kid pulls too many punches and misses the opportunity to open up on some of these hilarious situations, and with its amateurish attempt at a mockumentary, it really only serves as a light spar around the ring, as opposed to the full-on punch up it could have been.
Published October 7, 2004
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CALCIUM KID, THE: DVD (M)
CAST: Orlando Bloom, Omid Dajalili, Michael Pena, Rafe Spall, Michael Lerner, Ronni Ancona, David Kelly
DIRECTOR: Alex De Rakoff
SCRIPT: Alex De Rakoff & Derek Boyle
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
PRESENTATION: 1.85:1 widescreen 16:9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes and Outtakes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
DVD RELEASE: September 15, 2004