Directors: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Running Time: 95mins
Consumer Advice: Contains infrequent very strong language, strong language & sex references
It is 1970’s England, and Freddie (Christian Cooke) and his best friends Bruce (Tom Hughes) and Snork (Jack Doolan) are working class lads growing up in a small town. The future calls to Freddie - young, handsome and hopeful – and he aspires to leave his blue-collar background behind him. His family loves him dearly, but they can’t relate to Freddie’s modern ambitions. Nor can Bruce and Snork, who are content to revel in their camaraderie and small town “bad boy” antics. But Bruce’s cool and confident swagger belies an unhappy home life and uncanny knack for self-sabotage; and Snork, a lovable but bumbling young man, whose biggest dream is to have a girlfriend, has a talent for alienating the opposite sex.
Believing he sees a way out, Freddie interviews for a job as a door-to-door salesman with the Vigilant Life Assurance Company. Mr. Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes), the owner, sees a younger version of himself in the boy, and places him under the tutelage of his right-hand man and top salesman, the smooth but shady Mike Ramsay (Matthew Goode). As he leaves the interview, Freddie bumps into Julie (Felicity Jones), an old childhood friend who has blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Julie, it transpires, is not only Kendrick’s daughter, but also Mike’s fiancé.
Freddie, who sees in Mr. Kendrick everything he aspires to be, spends more and more time in the Kendrick home, at first noticing only the obvious material trappings. But the more he witnesses their family dynamic, the more Freddie questions the true meaning of success. As he spends time with Julie and their friendship deepens, he begins to awaken to new possibilities. Both Julie and Freddie sense a growing conflict between their personal dreams and aspirations and the social pressures they feel to conform. After a hilariously shocking stunt by Snork at Freddie’s stuffy company dinner, the boys confront each other, and suddenly their life-long friendship is called into question.
This is the wake up call that Freddie needs, and he persuades Bruce and Snork that they, too, have to get out and experience life for themselves. They make a pact to leave town the next day. That evening Freddie reveals his true feelings to Julie, and asks her to join him on the adventure. But as John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” and what transpires between that night and the following morning changes everything.
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