The Martins
Family values. The Martins drive everyone around them crazy...
dir-scr Tony Grounds
with Lee Evans, Kathy Burke, Linda Bassett, Eric Byrne, Terri Dumont, Lennie James, Paddy Considine, Tameka Empson, Jack Shepherd, Mark Strong, Alison Egan, Ray Winstone
release UK 14.Sep.01
01/UK 1h26

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
a real nuclear family Billed as a zany British comedy, this is actually quite a serious film. While its central characters may indeed be "the family from hell" they're never played as over-the-top comic goofballs. And the story itself is very personal. Robert Martin (Evans) is a complete loser--no job, no prospects, and he can't even win at any of the competitions he enters. He loves his wife (Burke) and is fiercely proud of his kids, a heavily pregnant 14-year-old (Dumont) and a son (Byrne) who's dead last in his class. This is the kind of family people cross the street to avoid. And when Robert loses a local newspaper promotion for a dream holiday, he snaps, taking matters into his own hands to ensure his family--plus mother-in-law (Bassett)--get the vacation they deserve.

All of the humour here comes in recognition--of our own desperation or of the insufferable people we deal with every day. Evans is a fine comic performer, and here he gets it absolutely right, with a subtle portrayal of a pathetic cretin who deep down has a heart of tarnished gold. But without Burke's startlingly honest performance the film would be virtually unwatchable--because she gives the film heart and soul with her terrific, nuanced turn as the worn-down wife who can't find a single reason to stay with her husband, but still won't abandon him entirely. Bassett is also natural and authentic, as are the first-timers who play the kids--they may be losers, but they're real people underneath the obnoxious exterior. And even though the plot gets a bit contrived and tidy in the end, the film still manages to grab hold nicely and reel us in.
adult themes, language cert 15 4.Sep.01

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
a real nuclear family send your review to Shadows... "What really struck me about this film is that the impoverished Martins' home is quite nicer than mine. And I work 40-50 hours at a skilled job. So that kind of lessened my sense of the unemployed Mr Martin's desperation, and also gave me thoughts of migrating to England That aside, I did enjoy this movie. Lee Evans carries the lead role quite well, and managed to be likeable despite his anti-social idiocy. I thought the movie was original in content and not that predictable. Mainly that is what I like; The Martins is not keyed to any movie formula I know of. It is a unique film, or so I think. In sum, I would say pass on this one in the theaters, but it is a good one to rent on video, especially if you're like me and find most movies to be an almost ritualistic rehash of the same few themes." --George Higgenbothan, Rochester NY 13.Mar.02
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall