banner image

:: There's Only One Jimmy Grimble

“There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble” is the feature debut of television director John Hay as a feel good comedy that the whole family can enjoy, which comes at the start of the Christmas Holiday Season. It is a coming of age story, which in essence is no different to your stock standard one, but it differs in a couple of essential ways. The film has not come out of Hollywood but rather out of the UK. It stars not only good actors but some of Britain’s finest critically acclaimed actors, and it’s not set in suburban middle class America, but in lower class Northern England. These critical elements turn There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble from something that you would only get out on video, to something that you would pay $Aust 15 for at the cinema and feel satisfied at the end of it.

15 year old Jimmy Grimble (Lewis McKenzie) is at a time in his life where he is experiencing more than a few difficulties. On top of the usual issues one faces in their teenage lives, such as getting bullied by older, bigger and nastier teenagers, and always running in to that one member of the opposite sex you fancy at a time when you are not at your best, Jimmy has a few additional troubles.

Jimmy’s Mum (Gina McKee) has broken up with the only man who really seemed like a father to him, Harry (Ray Winstone), and has started going out with a biker Two Dogs (Ben Miller). Two dogs has ying and yang symbols around his neck, matching tattoos on his hands and, to make matters that just one bit worse, Harley Davidson hair products.

Additionally, Jimmy’s only goal in life is to be nothing short of the best football player England has ever seen. As if trying to enter the world of professional football isn’t a tall enough ask, Jimmy is also facing the dilemma of having what is now commonly known as “performance anxiety” or problems with his motor neurones. As soon as he is in front of a crowd or even just another human being, Jimmy can’t kick and can’t head the ball. Essentially he just can’t play. The only person who has seen Jimmy’s potential first hand is a homeless old lady (Jane Lapotaire). She has seen Jimmy when he hasn’t known she was watching.

As tryouts for the school football team begin, all looks lost for Jimmy. He can’t perform in public at the best of times, let alone in front of his nemesis Gorgeous Gordon (Bobby Power) and Gordon’s sidekick Psycho (Ciaran Griffiths) who also turn up to try out. However, as luck would have it, the football coach, Coach Wirral (Robert Carlyle) has only enough players for one team anyway and Jimmy gets on as the sub. The school’s first game is against Wreckingham, (Wreckingham by name and Wreckingham by nature). As Jimmy puts it, “Its the sort of place that makes you glad to be a sub”. To Jimmy’s horror, another player is injured and he does eventually have to get on the field. As the other team comes bounding down the field toward him, Jimmy stands as the last remaining defence in the face of the other teams goals. At about the point you expect Jimmy to go down and go down hard, he surprises everyone not least himself, by ending up kicking the goal of the century. Due to the sheer impossibility of the kick, Jimmy becomes convinced that the pair of football boots that the old homeless lady gave him and that he is wearing on this miraculous day, are magic. He believes that as long as he wears them he can simply do no wrong. Safe in this belief, Jimmy shines through the rest of the season. All the performance anxiety is out the window. As Jimmy leads his school into the grand final, impresses his coach, team mates and also the Manchester United talent scout, Jimmy’s belief in his boots gets stronger and stronger.

The day of the grand final arrives and just as everything is looking great. Minutes before the match his magic boots go missing and with them, all Jimmy’s confidence, leaving in their place Jimmy’s over active motor neurones. So Jimmy, with a little bit of help from Coach Wirral, is forced to stop and take control of himself and, with this, take control of his future.

There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble is well worth a watch. Sure, it isn’t going to change your political beliefs or rock your world to any life shattering degree, but it will make you laugh and it will make you cry, and at the end of the day what else is entertainment for?

Screening at Cinema Nova and Rivoli Cinemas