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Looking for Eric


Stars: Steve Evets, Eric Cantona, Stephanie Bishop, John Henshaw, Gerard Kearns, Stephan Gumbs, Lucy-Jo Hudson, Justin Moorhouse, Des Sharples, Greg Cook, Mick Ferry, Smug Roberts, Johnny Travis

Director: Ken Loach

Postman Eric Bishop's life is in freefall. Having wooed and won his wife at a dance contest in 1979 (though the music and clothes in the flashback look more like 1959), he walked out on her after panic attacks left him unable to face life with a baby.

Thirty years later, Eric (Evets) shuffles back to the tip he calls home to find his stepsons (one white, one black) have several friends dossing there. Ineffectual and withdrawn, Eric is unable to so anything to improve things, even when he finds a gun hidden in one son's bedroom.

But help is at hand in the unlikely form of the shade of ex-soccer star Cantona, whom the postman, under the influence of a cannabis cigarette, imagines in his bedroom. Counselling Eric in much the same way that the ghost of Bogart did with Woody Allen in Play It Again, Sam, the maxim-spouting Frenchman helps turn the postman's life around.

There's a certain unevenness of tone here, as the film seems unsure whether to opt for comedy or drama, until it gathers momentum for a feelgood finale. Evets couldn't be better as the hapless postie, chubby John Henshaw, fast becoming a familiar face in British films, registers strongly as his mate at the Post Office, while Stephanie Bishop is certainly worth fighting for as the postman's ex-wife. Shafts of humour - one postie asks if U-tube is 'a new kind of Brylcreem' pop up now and again.

David Quinlan

UK/France/Belgium/Italy/Spain 2009. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour by deluxe.
116 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 06 Jun 2009