FNC '12 It's Ken Loach light this time around in this fun but toothless film that has a hard time finding its voice. Loach puts aside his social realism and skirts the edges of farce or Ealing style comedy here and lets Laverty's script go unchallenged. Missing the 'sturm and drang' or pathos evident in most of Loach's work and by the time of the happy ending (??!!) the film is already becoming a distant memory.
Without getting overly spoilery, the realist elements in the early scenes are effective enough at reminding the viewer they're watching a Ken Loach film so that the conclusion, which would feel formulaic in a Hollywood production, has something of a genuine twist to it: Loach actually giving his hero a happy ending, and letting them escape their past. Even the use of the Proclaimers feels earned.
Loach's films are always filled with realism but more than often are very gloom. This one on the other hand is rather fresh, with good doses of humour, as a bunch misfits touched by the kindness of a community service officer have decided to try and change their lives around, but not before one last scam... The result is delightful.