Film director Shane Meadows (as himself) has arrived at the door of his latest documentary subject: the roadie known as Le Donk (Paddy Considine), who invites him and his two-man crew inside. There they meet his lodger as the roadie expresses his concerns that he may be portrayed in a bad light if Meadows chooses to edit his footage creatively and make Le Donk look like a meanie. The filmmaker reassures him that will not be the case, and goes with him to meet his discovery, a rapper known as Scor-zay-zee (Dean Palinczuk) who may be the next big thing...
It seems that once some talents make it big, they have to inevitably make something extremely self-indulgent that may speak to them, but has their former fans sceptical in the face of a project that involves them arseing about and enjoying themselves, or making some kind of statement that says more to them than anyone else. John Lennon had his Two Virgins album, Peter Kay had his Max and Paddy series, er, Chris Evans did Tee Time, anyway - this was that kind of thing from two of Britain's brightest filmmaking stars.
Meadows and Considine had been friends and working associates since they had both started out in the business, and had been very good for each other, bringing out the best in themselves. This time around, they had earned the right to kick back and relax, and the mood of a shaggy dog story told between two mates who were not especially bothered if anyone else was in on the joke was strong here. The fact that it was a try at starting a new cinematic movement, encouraging directors to create a movie in five days, did not assist in dispelling that feeling.
Yet while this could have been the equivalent of just over an hour of in-jokes, it really wasn't as alienating as all that. As we follow Le Donk he starts out a rather hostile figure, and we wonder if Meadows had not misjudged the comic possibilities in what looked to be largely improvised, after all, who would want to spend time with this man who isn't interested in helping his ex-girlfriend Olivia (Olivia Colman) with the baby she's about to give birth to, even though it is his? And not only that, he's aggressive towards her new boyfriend who is good enough to want to be the dad Le Donk does not wish to be.
After a while, the right technique was settled on as Le Donk and his rapping friend (a real rapper, incidentally, not a spoof) became more figures of ridiculous fun, and some very funny moments were brought out of cliché mockumentary situations. The roadie starts muscling his way into the act, making up some backing vocals and playing a keyboard that only needs two buttons to be pressed to activate, all suitably inane (his lyrics mainly involve namechecking celebrities or pop culture characters: "Calm down Worzel Gummidge!"). Considine was evidently well versed in this larking about, and as a result the film grows on you, even managing a sweet closure when the baby arrives. That said, you do wonder if when Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee appear onstage as support to the Arctic Monkeys (as themselves) the crowd were in on it, as they are very accomodating to the duo's antics. But if Goldie Lookin' Chain could have a hit, why not these two?
British writer/director who graduated from two acclaimed short films into his own brand of features, set in ordinary British locations and concentrating on the humour and drama of everyday life: Twenty Four Seven, A Room for Romeo Brass and Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. 2004's Dead Man's Shoes was a change of direction, a rural revenge thriller that got some of his best reviews until the autobiographical This is England became regarded as his finest work, which he sequelised starting in 2010 for a television series.