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Fisherman's Friends


Stars: Daniel Mays, James Purefoy, Tuppence Middleton, David Hayman, Dave Johns, Maggie Steed, Noel Clarke

Director: Chris Foggin

Yet another tale based on truth, this one is an appropriately hearty and ruby-cheeked account of a shanty-singing group of Cornish fishermen and lifeboatmen who broke into the UK pop charts in 2009.

It all starts when four high-fliers in the music business are on a stag trip to Cornwall and, fresh from upsetting locals, come across the 10-men Friends, singing their hearts out on the quayside.

As a joke, the quartet's leader, Troy (Clarke) tells Danny (Mays) to sign 'em up. While the other three roar off, Danny, left behind, takes the suggestion seriously, also having half an eye on choir leader Purefoy's divorcee daughter (Middleton) and her own little daughter.

Purefoy rather overdoes the gruff Cornish, while Middleton's posh-voiced Cornish lass and May's cockney jack-the-lad hardly seem ideal partners, though perhaps we should accept that 'opposites attract' and that the film's heart is firmly in the right place.

The unfortunate Clarke gets the worst of the dialogue - 'I don't know what you've been smoking and I don't care', he tells Mays - but there are one or two good lines too, notably when Purefoy refers to his motley crew, en route to London in their dark glasses, as 'reservoir seadogs'. It's light-hearted, corny Cornish fare for the undemanding.

David Quinlan

UK 2019. UK Distributor: Entertainment. Colour (unspecified).
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 11 Mar 2019