This isn’t a guarantee that The Young Offenders is going to become a favourite – just that there’s a small chance it might be. It certainly has more chance of becoming a cult classic than last year’s try-hard The Greasy Strangler; whether you’re willing to be a member of this particular cult depends on how forgiving you are of the film’s flaws. Its charms, however, are pretty undeniable.
The Young Offenders was inspired by the 2007 seizure of €750 million of cocaine from a yacht near West Cork. When teenage miscreants Conor (Alex Murphy) and Jock (Chris Walley) hear that plastic-wrapped bales of expensive Class-A drug are washing ashore, they briefly set aside their hobbies of bike-thievery and mooching in order to cycle to the coast in search of white, powdery treasure.
We’re in the company of Conor and Jock for almost all of the film’s running time, which would be a dubious pleasure if it weren’t for the representational balancing act that Foott pulls off. Spotty and sparsely-moustached as well as venal and dense, the pair are also witty (accidentally) and well-intentioned (mostly). Despite the fact that you can almost smell Lynx Africa wafting off the screen, they’re not bad company, and their repartee is occasionally inspired. Foott is also careful to give a sense of what’s at stake: Conor and Jock’s lives are so confined that their quest seems just as heroic as greedy.
It’s not going make Sight and Sound’s end-of-year critics’ poll. There’s some egregious Danny-Dyer-sex-comedy stuff that belongs in a lesser film: synchronised screaming (‘AAAAAAAAAAH’), catchphrases in unison, and some reliance on the intrinsic humour of masturbation or genitals. There’s also a villain who is physically disabled solely, it seems, for comedy purposes.
But The Young
Offenders is never as crass as something like The Inbetweeners, and when Foott is good, he’s Edgar Wright good: comedy
through perfectly-timed editing, and a sense of absurd cinematic pastiche.
Sure, it doesn’t go anywhere, or really do justice to its premise, but if you
find any of it funny you’ll probably find the whole thing funny. And you’ll
probably find it funny forever.
|What||The Young Offenders film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
13 Jan 17 – 13 Mar 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|