Strangeways Here We Come is not a bad film per se, it’s just laden with an un-adventurous script, a number of very clichéd situations and stereotypical characters.

The premise of residents in financial debt to an evil loan shark and pondering a ‘solution’ to their problem is a little hackneyed - though this is set in Manchester. It’s a simple, familiar plot, even so there’s still ample room to work with within the scenario.

It’s just a shame that much of what is presented is threadbare, to the point of transparency: the running joke with a postman is signalled from the off. Similarly, with the gags there’s feeling that writer and director Chris Green’s model was to just throw everything into the air and hope for the best.

Conversely, some the jokes are laboriously over-thought and wrought; the one about vaginas and razorblades must have been as painful for the actor to perform as it was for the viewer to hear. It all fits the general hap hazardous and happy go lucky construct of the film.

And to their credit the large cast are in tune with that. They do look as if they are having a ball playing a collection of students, drug-peddlers, general weirdos and a stroke victim. The latter has a couple of scenes when he appears to have a stroke. Now that sort of bad taste can work and be very funny, if properly handled. Here, it isn’t, and it looks like ridicule, which this writer suspects wasn’t the intention.

There are slight attempts at what could be satire but never developed enough and there’s a creeping predictability of the direction that this is all going to end as characters are introduced into story. Despite all the cast’s enthusiasm on screen, it’s just too much for them to carry and overall it’s a disappointment.

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