Dragged down to the Cornish coast by three other music executives, talent scout Danny (Daniel Mays) quickly finds himself out of his depth. The victim of a practical joke, Danny’s boss jokingly demands that he sign up the local fishermen they find singing down at the quayside. Unaware that he’s been set up, Danny manages to convince the gnarly fishermen to record some songs for an album. However can he deliver the boy band dream he’s sold them?
... suitably grounded in a real-world distrust.
Based on a true story, ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ is a biographical comedy drama which evokes much of the same spirit that Bill Forsyth’s ‘Local Hero’. Whilst not as immediately charming as that seminal fish-out-of-water classic, director Chris Foggin’s movie still has lashings of good humour on offer.
Refreshingly brave in highlighting the Cornish’s genuine antipathy towards big city “emmets” (or “ants” as the tourists are referred to), ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ is a comedy suitably grounded in a real-world distrust. Nowhere more is this embodied than in the solidly affecting turn of James Purefoy as the band’s de facto leader Jim. Bristling up against Daniel Mays’s Londoner adrift-on-the-south-coast, together with a rich band of actors that you might recognise from heavier fare, ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ satisfyingly cuts across its more comedic moments with decent enough drama.
Whilst unlikely to develop into the run-away hit that was ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ is still an efficient and charming mid-level offering that doesn’t take itself or its characters too seriously. Yes, the beats on display may be a tad predictable. However they still have a charming resonance to them with the most surprising aspect being the music itself.
So, whilst a comedy about a boatload of fisherman singing sea shanties might sound like a gratingly-discordant prospect, the actual result is much more choral when the band’s vocals come on song. As with Danny’s gradual conversion to the Cornish way of life, ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ is a film that escapes the smirks of its title to become another charming Brit fairytale with its roots planted in a much drier reality.
Jump on board lest it pass you by.0