1 out of 10
Release Date: 14th September 2011
Director: Ricky Grover
Cast: Ricky Grover, Omid Djalili, Joshua Lou Friedman, Geoff Bell, Roland Manookian, Eddie Webber, Rufus Hound, Derek Acorah, Laila Morse, Lorraine Stanley, Maxwell Laird, Dave Legano, Andy Linden, Michael Smiley and Steven Berkoff with Leo Gregory, Peter Capaldi and Tulisa Contostavlos
Writer: Ricky & Maria Grover
Trailer: BIG FAT GYPSY GANGSTER
Joe Pesci II informed me the other day that Ricky Grover (LOVE HONOUR AND OBEY) has been playing The Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Bullah for some time now. We both think it’s time for him to stop. Better yet, it may have been better for him to stop before this film got made. Funny thing still is that I’d have never come across it but whilst on holiday in Cornwall in 2011. I was walking past the local cinema in Falmouth and they were screening it. I was baffled. I’d never even seen Bullah as up and coming in any of the cinema magazines or on trailers. It was just there. Now I lived in Cornwall for a bit and they would occasionally do this, having been left out of the distribution loop by those Englishers they would screen something really weird like Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, four screenings a day alongside all the blockbusters. That week they were also screening brit-pic Weekender too! But I’d already heard of that one, vaguely. Now, I didn’t have time to see it that day, I think I saw something equally crap called Apollo 16. And then the holiday was over. Anyway, I’m digressing horribly (or am I just putting off reviewing this extremely whiffy and lazy attempt at a comedy.)
Directed, co-written and starring stand-up comedian Ricky Grover, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster opens with his release from a maximum security prison. Awaiting his arrival are a film crew led by a Mickey Rourke look-a-like called Joshua Lee Friedman (his name in real-life too) who want to document his exploits for a few days. They follow Bullah around London, hi-jacking a tourist bus, meeting up with his personal psychic, Derek Acorah (playing himself), visiting his Aunt Queenie (LAILA MORSE – EASTENDERS) who violently tells him that the bent cop who put him away (EDDIE WEBBER – THE FIRM) now owns all his former businesses. This sets Bullah on the war path, and involves barely realised schemes involving midget fights. At one point we visit the farm where they raise the said “little people”. I can’t remember what else happened but the film also involves appearances by Leo Gregory (THE BIG I AM) as a gay, Michael Smiley (DOWN TERRACE) as mad IRA bomber, Steven Berkoff (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) as a Hindu Guru, Tulisa from N-Dubz in a pointless cameo that requires her to sing over the din in a pub to no comic effect and the usually amazing Peter Capaldi (SOFT TOP HARD SHOULDER) as Bullah’s anger management shrink. Omid Djalili (SEX & THE CITY 2), Geoff Bell (THE REEDS) and Roland Manookian (GBH) play various oppos and henchmen to tired cockney effect. Framing it as a documentary give it an extra chaotic feel and twinning this with Ricky Grover‘s semi-improvised delivery gave me the impression that the film crew were too slow to catch the ‘odd’ bit of action. Sometimes they were in the wrong place completely because the scene hadn’t been blocked out in advance (a scene in a boxing gym springs to mind), or Grover was too deep in character to notice he wasn’t being filmed anymore. There’s an air of the self-congratulatory about this film which feels unearned. It’s almost as if the actors were happy drunk or had stuck a load of whiz up their noses and were in that ‘invincible’ stage. Hang on I take that back, I doubt the producers could’ve stretched to affording such an acting ‘luxury’. Perhaps they all chipped in and bought Grover’s portion or perhaps he’s just ‘high’ on panda pops – orange flavour. I don’t know.
Coming to Bullah cold, it feels like its coasting on past good will for Grover’s appearances on stage or on a television show (I need to research it – actually I can’t be bothered). Big Fat Gypsy Gangster makes the other faux documentary we’ve reviewed on here, Pimp, look like Stanley Kubrick. It’s unfunny, unrealistic, over the top, messy and renders the eternal ‘fart’ joke unfunny. I mean, how is that possible? You can always rely on a fart to get a laugh but Bullah killed it. Now, if Dead Cert was the equivalent of a “name” actor’s Sunday afternoon kick about, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster is the equivalent of their cliquey booze up afterwards before they all drive home to watch Songs Of Praise.
1 out of 10 – No more Bullah-Sh*t, alright? Zero laughs. Zero fun.
ED’s Note: It’s been eight weeks since I first watched this movie and I’ve been unable to laugh at a single fart I’ve heard or smelt. This film has clearly damaged me. Ricky Grover killed the fart joke and I want revenge. (12/12/12)
EDITOR’S NOTE: I laughed at my first fart – two days ago (07/01/2014)
READ JOE PESCI II’S FUNNY REVIEW AT THE FOOT OF THIS PAGE!
WHERE HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR BEFORE?
- Ricky Grover: Huge, Tony, Dead Cert, Love Honour & Obey
- Omid Djalili: Molly Moon, Shaun The Sheep Movie (voice), Sex & The City 2, Mr Nice, Dead Man Running, The Infidel, Alien Autopsy, Grow Your Own, Anita & Me, Mean Machine, The Mummy
- Geoff Bell: Suffragette, Kingsman – The Secret Service, Comedown, Storage 24, Comes a Bright Day, The Reeds, War Horse, Brighton Rock (2011), Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Route Irish, Solomon Kane, Mercenaries, Just For The Record, Wild Target (2010), The Heavy, Freebird, Love Me Still, Botched, Tormented, Green Street, The Business, Mean Machine
- Roland Manookian: Gunned Down, No Reason, GBH, The Rise and Fall Of The White Collar Hooligan, Piggy, Just For The Record, Dead Cert, Rise Of The Footsoldier, Rock-N-Rolla, Grow Your Own, The Business, The Football Factory, Goodbye Charlie Bright
- Eddie Webber: Gunned Down, Hooligans At War (narrator), Assassin (2015), Devil’s Tower, Svengali, The Fall Of The Essex Boys, The Firm (2009), Shifty, Freebird, The Business
- Rufus Hound: The Wedding Video
- Derek Acorah: Celebrity Quitters (TV), Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns (TV), Derek Acorah’s Most Haunted (TV)
- Maxwell Laird: Psychoville (TV)
- Dave Legeno: Last Knights, Sword of Vengeance, The Incident, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Dead Cert, Bonded By Blood, Centurion, The Cottage, Hell To Pay, Snatch
- Michael Smiley: The Devil Went Down To Islington, Glassland, Black Sea, Dr Who (TV), We Are The Freaks, Svengali, For Those In Peril, Shell, The World’s End, A Field In England, Luther (TV), Kill List, Burke & Hare, Down Terrace, Outpost,
- Andy Linden: Rise of the Footsoldier 2, In The Blood (2015), Ghosted, Huge, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – part 1
- Steven Berkoff: Rise of the Footsoldier 2, Fall of an Empire, We Still Kill The Old Way, Red 2, GBH, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012), Strippers Vs. Werewolves, 44 Inch Chest, Just For The Record, Dead Cert, The Big I Am, Beverly Hills Cop, Fair Game, Decadence, The Krays, Steal, The Tourist, McVicar, Barry Lyndon, Rancid Aluminium
- Leo Gregory: The Hooligan Factory, Top Dog, All Things To All Men, One In The Chamber, Payback Season, Wild Bill (2012), The Big I Am, Cass, Goal 3, Stoned, Green Street
- Laila Morse: Eastenders (TV), Love Honour & Obey, Nil By Mouth
- Lorraine Stanley: Suffragette, The Guvnors, The Hooligan Factory, Top Dog, He Who Dares, Essex Boys Retribution, GBH, Made In Dagenham, Cass, London To Brighton
- Peter Capaldi: Dr Who (TV), Paddington, The Fifth Estate, World War Z, In The Thick Of It (TV), In The Loop, Torchwood (TV), Magicians, Max, Shooting Fish, Bean. Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, Neverwhere (TV), Captives, Soft Top Hard Shoulder, Dangerous Liaisons, Lair Of The White Worm, Local Hero
- Tulisa Contastavlos: Demons Never Die, Being N-Dubz (TV)