Mike Bassett: England Manager review

If Spinal Tap's a premier league mockumentary, then Mike Bassett: England Manager is struggling to avoid relegation from the third division.

Nicking its plot and characters from Bobby Robson's reign as England boss (small club manager takes on the top job and is hated by the press until succeeding at the World Cup), it makes a few decent tackles but barely gets in a shot on goal in the whole 90 minutes.

When real-life football documentaries can produce painfully comic moments like the televisual mugging that gave us Graham Taylor's ""Do I not like that!"" speech, then why bother with half-hearted rub-downs like this? The only highlight is Ricky Tomlinson's Bassett himself. Showing up the rest of the gormless clichés on display here (especially Dean Lennox Kelly's hamfisted Gazza clone), he delivers some scorching moments of comedy and, surprisingly, pathos. But film-making, like football, is a team game and even Tomlinson can't win this on his own.

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