And here we go… This one’s going to be a bit hard to categorize. There’s comedy and murder. It doesn’t push too strong on either direction, and that’s possibly why it defies being either. There’s drama in it and most of all, there’s satire. There’s also going to be some social commentary on internet fame and talent shows. The most important element and at its core is going to be the main character itself.
Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break (2021) was directed by Nick Gillespie and written by Brook Driver and Matt White. Paul Dood (Tom Meeten) has always wanted to be famous and his mom Julie (June Watson) is his most fervent cheerleader. He is constantly streaming and hoping to be the top of the talent show Trend Ladder. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get much respect at work at the shopping mall charity shop. His co-worker always teases him mercilessly while his boss uses him to test online psychology courses. The only one supporting him is Clemmie (Katherine Parkinson), the mall’s cleaning lady.
What we get is a British satire that includes a brand of colourful characters, from unhelpful train attendants to rude priests to a weird tea shop owner obsessed with Japanese culture (Johnny Vegas). Some of these interactions are funny, some are cringy and all of them are uncalled for just to make Paul miss his audition with Jack Tapp (Kevin Bishop). Eventually, disaster strikes and Paul feels the call to revenge against everyone who has ever wronged him. Paul is not a hero, nor he is an everyman. He is also not an accomplish avenger. However, fortune suddenly starts favouring him, in a weird way. With murder counts going up, Paul is a wanted man by local law enforcement and a trending star for his growing audience.
Recommended with reservations. It’s a British satire that can be both charming and a bit cringe. The timing always feels a little late. I often felt I got where the joke was going before the film and then I had to wait for it to get there. You’re inclined to cheer Paul on, but some interactions are rather painful to watch. However, the main characters are engaging although you wish the movie would lean a little more strongly into dark tones or its comedy. Your mileage might vary with this one.
That will do for now.