For anyone who preferred Oliver Bean to Malcolm in the Middle, behold Sixty Six, the story of a self-centered Jewish boy whose bar mitzvah dares to clash with the final game of the 1966 World Cup. Bernie (Gregg Sulkin) boasts of needing to make an impression for fear of disappearing forever, almost as if describing the film’s ingratiating style, which reduces the joys and wonders of adolescence to staring at a gigantic pair of breats and its horrors to being the last one picked for a round of football (soccer to us Americans). Bernie’s life goal becomes to upstage the bar mitzvah of his older brother (Ben Newton), who’s such a fascist that he doesn’t let his little bro step on the carpet inside their bedroom. Everyone else is a similar such kook: Bernie’s rabbi is blind and often continues talking well after people have left the room (poor guy can’t even see the stray grain of rice hanging from his beard!) and his father is a mousy obsessive-compulsive who doesn’t drive over 25 mph and stashes his earnings under the floorboards. (Will Dad finally learn to put pedal to the meddle? Will fire wipe away his nest egg? Stay tuned!). Condescendingly, the story spells out the parallel between Bernie’s “underdog” status and England’s during the World Cup, but what really stings is the onslaught of quirk, which isn’t surprising given that Paul Weiland’s name appears on the credits: As in his recent Made of Honor, redemption isn’t earned but rather a last-act quota, and like the rabbi at Bernie’s bar mitzvah, you’ll leave feeling like you’ve stepped in a pile of poo.
- First Independent Pictures
- 93 min
- Paul Weiland
- Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
- Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Marsan, Gregg Sulkin, Ben Newton, Peter Serafinowicz, Catherine Tate, Stephen Rae
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