Review: The Young Offenders

“Adam & Paul” meets “The Inbetweeners”; ‘The Young Offenders’ in a hilarious tale of two hapless Cork youths and their bid for glory.

IFTA-winning director and writer Peter Foott’s debut movie is based on the story of two teenage misfits, Jock and Conor, going nowhere in life, from working-class Cork. One day, the Gods decide to smile on them – or so they think. A bail of cocaine worth millions of dollars has gone missing in the sea somewhere off the coast of Cork, and dozens of people are flocking to the scene in search of it. Who better to find it and become multi-millionaires than our two anti-heroes? Let the gold cocaine rush begin!

The movie is loosely based around a true event. Some of you may remember, back in 2007 (a long time ago now it seems, a long long time … ten years ago. Cue mid-life crisis).) when Gardaí intercepted what was thought to be the biggest cocaine seizure in Irish history off the coast of Cork. The movie opens with a news report letting us know about the cocaine seizure, but from there on we move firmly into the realms of imagination – with no shortage of craziness, catastrophe, comedy and cocaine.

By now, we are used to Irish movies based in Dublin city – The Commitments, The Snapper and the more recent, critically acclaimed Sing Street. Cork city just doesn’t feature as the main setting for an Irish movie too often, probably because of that accent, and that does make for a refreshing change. However, the strength of this movie lies not so much in the originality of its story. A lot of it is nothing we’re not already familiar with: two idiotic sidekicks trying to make their way in the world, who support each other through thick and thin as they clumsily meander towards their goal in the most unlikely ways possible, all the while trying to outrun the “bad guys” and win the day (although the fact that their end goal is to start a cocaine empire does blur the line about who exactly the “bad guys” are, but you still can’t help but root for them).

They swear they didn't intentionally mean to wear matching hoodies and embody the hashtag that is #goals.
They swear they didn’t intentionally mean to wear matching hoodies and embody the hashtag that is #goals.

Ultimately, what makes this movie really worth watching is the often hilarious dialogue, the random situations the two lads somehow manage to get themselves into, and, surprisingly, the complexity of the relationships between the main characters. The two best friends, who would do anything for each other (usually something sneaky or no good), still manage to come across as sympathetic characters. Jock’s tragically dysfunctional family background really comes to life; you can feel the years of friction which have worn down the relationship between Conor and his mother, despite not knowing most of the back story.  Not forgetting the recurring joke of her endless annoyance with Jock’s very existence, and how jovially unaware of it Jock himself is only further enhance this family dynamic.

There are plenty of worse movies you could spend an afternoon watching. I recommend giving this one a shot.

Bobby Madden.

 

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