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With Jim Sabatini

Sixty Six

Sixty Six
Gregg Sulkin, Ben Newton, Eddie Marsan, Peter Serafinowicz and Helena Bonham Carter

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 1, 2008 Released by: Working Title Films

This "true-ish story" teeters unconvincingly between comedy and drama in spite of its warm, cheerful intentions.

Sixty Six played over in Great Britain a couple of years back and has made it to the U.S. It may harken some back to their childhood, wallowing in how expectations didn't quite pan out. One hoped that the makers of Four Weddings and a Funeral could have duplicated more of their earlier success especially on the humorous scale, as it seems to be mopey more often than not.

Still, from the titular year, period recreation (with gaudy outfits and decor) is easily handled to put one into the summer of one Bernie Reuben (Gregg Sulkin). The rite of passage, the Bar Mitzvah, is coming into view for him that may ease the discomfort of his young life.

Bernie is organizing a big shindig that should outshine the one his older brother (Ben Newton) had. Yet, Murphy's Law seems all too prevalent in his current position. The grocer business with dad (Eddie Marsan of Hancock) and edgy uncle (Peter Serafinowicz) is in jeopardy as his mother (Helena Bonham Carter) is trying her best to make family unity first priority. Worst of all, the day of the party just happens to be when the surprising England soccer team is playing for the World Cup finals.

So, the conflict is in place to capture the drama and humor with fine archival footage of the historical rise in the country's most popular sport that nicely sublimates the main storyline. The central gags figure on Bernie's self-deprecation, along with the unusual behavior of his compulsive father, done with some unexpected flair by Marsan. Watch him speak at a wedding. Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd) appeals in more of a less lively fashion. And, Sulkin does his best to bring much energy to the proceedings.

Sixty Six, however, never really gets its footing in place, so the hope for Bernie to make his big day come true is a sketchy heartbreaker authenticated from director Paul Weiland's (Made of Honor) experience. But, alas, to no avail.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Sixty Six        C                  C 

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