a film by Rikki Beadle-Blair
2010 | 98 mins | UK
›› KickOff
a spirited mix of soccer action and relationship woes.
KickOff by Rikki Beadle-Blair Going out of its way to fly the rainbow coloured flag in the so-called beautiful game, this vibrant medley of comedy, drama and football is more entertaining than many a Premier League match I could mention, even if some of the sparkling Brit one-liners could end up lost in translation.

Then again, this is a match in which there's more going on off the pitch, then on, much to the concern of the team captains who just want to play a game. Indeed any game for that matter, given the bad boy reputation of The Bethnal Reapers has resulted with no-one willing to play against them. Not that Platoon FC thought they would be up against them, every pun intended, that of a group of openly gay boys with a-liking for football, only for their "not gay, but my boyfriend is" ex-soldier of a captain determined to march his squad back into the straight acting closet. Little chance of that happening when their crotch enhancing strip turns out to be a shade of pink; sorry fuchsia. Only with seemingly one and all giving fledging referee Elton more grief than a drama queen on speed, can this boy cope with the pressure of man-on-man action, 5-a-side style?

KickOff by Rikki Beadle-Blair Whilst the scenario of gays in football is hardly new and here cue Sherry Hormann's aptly titled Balls, such is the enthusiasm that writer and director Rikki Beadle-Blair of FIT fame and cue the blatant in-house advertising, has injected into his spirited mix of soccer action and relationship woes, that never a dull moment is to be found. That at some point the game would result in a gays v straights standoff was inevitable. Yet such is Beadle-Blair's creativity, that the first yellow card handed out for homophobia arrives with a neat twist, even if in this instance his laudable crusade is laced with a series of expletives and camping it up stereotypes, let alone enough personal issues for it to feel like a double feature crammed into one.

Thankfully in between all of the engaging antics to be had lies many a telling line, including a closing dedication to Justin Fashanu, namely the only professional gay football player to date - at least publicly. Complete with many a familiar face, including Jay (Summer) Brown doing his best "you don't want to make me angry" Incredible Hulk impression, the result is a caricature filled work that and like Róbert I Douglas' Eleven Men Out, stands proud to shine the spotlight on a game that really is not that beautiful at all, one in which it is perfectly acceptable for two men to openly kiss each other, just so long as it's on the playing field, but not off it. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 4.April.2011 / UK.
World Premiere at the IRIS Prize International Film Festival, Wales - 6th October, 2010.
starring: Alexis Gregory / Benji, Craig Storrod / Marco, Ian Sharp / Archer, Jack Shalloo / Jensen, Jai Rajani / Kane, Jason Maza / Adam,
Jay Brown / Fitz, Kyle Treslove / Joey, Ludvig Bonin / Kingston, Michael Lindall / Danny, Nathan Clough / Floyd, Rebecca Joerin /
Donna, Ryan Quartley / Romeo, Samantha Lyden / Kat, Sasha Frost / Alex, Stephen Hoo / Maddox and with
Duncan MacInnes as Elton, the Referee and Rikki Beadle-Blair as Max, the Foster Dad.
dedicated to the memory of Justin Fashanu: 1961 1998.
official website:
www.kickoffthemovie.co.uk
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #367
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