out of Five
Running time: 89
Despite several decent gags and a good lead performance from Bloom this is ultimately hamstrung by budgetary constraints and fails to deliver any knockout punches.
Thanks to his roles in four of the biggest movies of the last few years (the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Pirates of the Caribbean) Orlando Bloom has built himself a sizeable following, to the point where the mere mention of his name is enough to send certain susceptible people into rapturous reveries. It remains to be seen, however, whether ‘the Bloomers’ (as they may or may not be called) will be sufficient in number to turn The Calcium Kid into a box office hit – after all, where were they for Ned Kelly, eh? Eh?
Milkman Damages British Boxing Hope
Bloom stars as Jimmy Connelly, a fresh-faced kid who loves his job as a milkman and wants nothing more than to become regional manager for Express Milk Dairies. However, during a sparring match at the local gym, he accidentally puts Britain’s contender for the World title out of action for a few weeks. With no time to find a replacement, the fight’s promoter (Omid Djalili) puts Jimmy forward as Britain’s Boxing Hope instead…
The Calcium Kid is filmed as a documentary (or, if you must, mockumentary) and the film-makers squeeze just about every conceivable documentary-style joke they can out of the format, from supposedly off microphones to comedy re-takes. This works well enough in places, but isn’t really sustained throughout the film, which detracts somewhat.
Bloom is excellent – he has an extremely likeable screen presence and he’s always watchable. However, the majority of the other characters are poorly-drawn clichés, from the drunken trainer (David Kelly) to the big-shot American promoter (Michael Lerner), though Omid Djalili does the best he can with his role as Herbie Bush.
The exception to this is Rafe Spall, who puts in a brilliantly oblivious performance as Jimmy’s best friend Stan – his rap scene is particularly funny. As for Billie Piper, she’s barely even in it, which suggests the bulk of her performance ended up on the cutting room floor.
Lack Of Decent Budget Is Main Problem
The main problem with the film is that its lack of a decent budget prevents it from delivering the expected climax – clearly they couldn’t stretch to a boxing arena and a few hundred extras. (The solution is perhaps the worst example of papering over the cracks since the “burning of the Porsche” scene in Shopping, where you only see the car burn from the inside.).
Frankly, it’s a surprise that the Milk Marketing Board didn’t pony up the cash they needed, given the fact that the film could play as an extended milk ad.
In short, The Calcium Kid delivers the odd good laugh and Orlando fans probably won’t be disappointed, but it’s too uneven to really impress.