This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
Roadies. The unseen gear lugging, groupie sorting powerhouses without whom Rock could never have joined up with Roll to change the world as we know it, and occasional source of comedy. It’s to this world that the esteemed Shane Meadows turns his lens as he focuses on the life and career of respected, experienced roadie known to his friends as Le Donk.
Well, not exactly. Le Donk in this case is played by Paddy Constantine, and Meadows follows him around in a Guestian mockumentary fashion, doing for roadies what Rob Reiner did for fauxrock acts with Spinal Tap. Mr Donk finds himself separated from his heavily pregnant wife and living with young rap luminary Scor-zay-zee (Dean Palinczuk), when he’s called upon to help out backstage with the setup for a big Arctic Monkeys gig, who I believe to be a young beat combo popular with the younger set.
So the two duly hop into the camper van and make the long trip to Manchester from (where else) the Midlands, with Le Donk having the ulterior motive of blagging a support act slot for the young heavyweight rapper, with Meadows and crew tagging along to see what transpires.
Narratively there’s very little more to the film than that, but this is hardly a movie of drama and conflict. It’s being played very strictly for laughs, a goal it achieves with almost embarrassing ease, especially compared to some of the other non-com drivel I’ve sat through lately.
The thing I continually forget that Paddy Constantine is actually a pretty great comic actor. Witness, if nothing else, his turn as a supporting Andy in Hot Fuzz. As such, it really shouldn’t be a surprise when he turns out to be really funny as Le Donk. He plays the worst kind of inconsiderate, charmless idiot – one who thinks he is a considerate, charming, smooth operator.
Support from youngster Scor-zay-zee, who joking apart is actually a fairly talented and funny lyricist in his own right, is charming and, crucially, very funny. Meadows himself turns out to be very funny in his own right, albeit in a film where the fourth wall isn’t so much broken as never built in the first place.
The only things that doesn’t work, and I’ll readily admit this is entirely a matter of personal preference, are the two montages over music from the Arctic Monkeys, who may well be one of the pegs that the film is hung on and are likeable enough lads in their ‘acting’ scenes, but produce music I just cannot stomach. A silly thing to pick out, perhaps, but in a relatively short film this does take up a substantial percentage of the film. Your mileage may vary.
For a film which is not only improvised but also shot over a mere five days, the quality it’s achieved is remarkable. Also, it should by rights mean that we get a new Shane Meadows film every month, which would be awesome. Certainly, Le Donk is.