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The Calcium Kid (15) | Home Ents Review

Still from The Calcium Kid

Dir. Alex De Rakoff, UK, 2004, 89 mins, English

Cast: Orlando Bloom, Billie Piper, Michael Peña, Rafe Spall, Tamer Hassan, Omid Djalili

Perhaps the beauty of this film, and many British films of a similar style, is that it is not afraid to make fun of itself, to ridiculous heights. If you take The Calcium Kid for what it is, then it’s a quirky little low-budget comedy starring a fresh-faced Orlando Bloom during his Golden Period – also known as 2003-2004. This is the period when he had central roles in Pirates of the Caribbean (Gore Verbinski), Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson), Troy (Wolfgang Petersen); Orlando well and truly bloomed in the early noughties.

The Calcium Kid currently has an impressive, nay astonishing 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes; but in fact Alex De Rakoff’s (Dead Man Running, 2009) film is a hilariously funny British mockumentary (film or television programme which takes the form as a serious documentary in order to satirize its subject) about a milkman challenging for the Middleweight Boxing Championship of the World Title.

Made by the company behind the hit comedy film Shaun of the Dead (which has an impressive 92 % Rotten Tomatoes rating) the film’s premise is simple: one day at his local boxing gym Jimmy Connolly (Bloom) accidently puts Britain’s contender for the Boxing World Title Peter Wright (Hassan) out of action by use of his incredibly hard skull (strengthened by the many pints of milk he drinks daily). As a result, Jimmy is forced to take this place and unwantedly thrust into the limelight as we countdown the days until fight night. With the help and hindrance of Pete’s former manager and fight promoter Herbie Bush (Djalili), Connolly must fight Jose Mendez (Peña), the Middleweight Champion of the World in a David versus Goliath situation.

Forget everything that you know about the user rating of this film: The Calcium Kid boasts an impressive cast, which includes Michael Lerner (known for his supporting role in Barton Fink (Coen Brothers, 1991), a young Billie Piper (star of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, between 2007-11) and the formidable David Kelly (also seen in Tim Burton’s 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), including some of Britain’s finest comedy actors.

Allowing each of the film’s oddball characters to take centre stage within the film at some point – due to use of the interview technique that is so characteristic of the documentary genre – the film successfully creates a chaotic portrait of the week prior to fight night.

Equipped with choppy editing and a quirky soundtrack, the film can be described as simple lighthearted fun. At no time in the future will The Calcium Kid achieve a strong cult status, nor any belated award nominations on closer inspection, but it sure throws out a good few jokes that produce a number of laughs and I do not think it aspires to do anymore than this.

Bloom inhabits the role of the young, naïve Jimmy Connolly with perfection as he attempts to transform himself into Jimmy ‘The Calcium Kid’ Connolly in the run up to the fight. However, no British comedy about boxing would be complete without the seminal Rocky theme tune, an all-white dressed tribute boy band synchronized dancing to a remixed version of the nation’s anthem, one neon orange tracksuit, an ill-conceived rap, a grimy council estate and a conversation about the impossibility of a bee’s ability to fly spearheaded by boxing legend Chris Eubank.

And like any film of this style, after a series of mishaps, trials and indeed tribulations all of the film’s plot threads point to the idea of what a difference a week makes.

So yes, The Calcium Kid is neither realistic nor well realised, but they don’t half have fun with it, ending in a montage fashion catching up with all of the parties six months later as Bloom signs out with a cheeky wink.

Perhaps the most important question is how on earth did Orlando drink that pint of full fat milk on screen?

Review by Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark

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The Calcium Kid is out now on DVD.