Saturday 23 April 2011


Out now on DVD is this Liverpool set coming of age tale. Watch the trailer and read my review, next...

From the writers of the not very well received Three and Out comes this drama about a pair of lifelong friends growing up in Liverpool. Robbie and Ziggy (Josh Bolt and Eugene Byrne) are two typical Liverpudlian lads; cocky, rowdy and desperate to lose their virginities. When Robbie gets taken into hospital with a deadly illness, Ziggy is tasked with finding a girl willing to deflower Robbie before it's too late.

Mixing elements of Children's Ward with American Pie, The Be All and End All suffers from being unsure of what story it's trying to tell. At its core it's a tale of teenage friendship, but it wastes too much time and energy on filling in the family backstories. At its best when the two young leads are on screen together, the film instead sees the friends separated for long periods of time for no real reason. During the brief moments of action (like the failed trip to the local massage parlour), the film comes alive with boisterous energy; it's just a shame that these moments are so fleeting, as the rest of the film pales in comparison. 

Although the set up seems to be heading towards a comedy/drama something akin to a Scouse Somer's Town, it instead never manages to be more than a depressing and rather worthy melodrama, bogged down in over sentimentality. It may appeal to those who equate misery as drama, but despite its aspirations The Be All and End All carries all the emotional clout of a Grange Hill omnibus, and not the one where Zammo dies.

In keeping with the hard to place tone of the film, there's some uneven performances from the two young leads, clearly struggling with the balance of comedy and the weighty subject matters. Personally, I'd put that down to the rather mawkish script they have to deal with rather than a lack of talent, and I'm sure they'll go on to appear in better things. As for the parents, they add little to the story, and for a woman born in Liverpool, Liza Tarbuck has one of the oddest Scouse accents I've ever heard.

Like one big hug in the ample bosom of Liza Tarbuck, The Be All and End All is soft, a bit rude and more than a little uncomfortable after a while.


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