Directed by Keri Collins
Starring Ray Panthaki, Vicky McClure, Adeel Akhtar, Anthony Head and Verne Troyer
In UK Cinemas October 2nd, 2015

by Bernie C. Byrnes

I’m a fan of British Comedy where the underdog wins out and, quite separately, of the absurd, so I had a good feeling about Convenience (released in UK cinemas on October 2nd and on demand and DVD October 5th). And I wasn’t entirely disappointed. All the ingredients are there: a stupid, well meaning guy helps out his even more well meaning but even stupider mate to right a bad situation and mildly punish some badish people along the way. Add to that an increasing number of even more stupid and progressively less well-meaning people and you have a reliably ridiculous and pleasing film.

Convenience is a buddy-comedy-heist-movie that follows two convenience store robbers who screw up the crime and end up working there for the rest of the night. Ajay (Ray Panthaki) and Shaan (Adeel Akhtar) are two hapless friends who need to find money to pay a debt inadvertently owed to some Russian strip club owners. Unfortunately after taking the staff hostage, they realise the safe won’t open until 6am. Desperate, and with their lives on the line, they decide they must work there all night to avoid anyone raising the alarm before they get their money. However, as they struggle to deal with the feisty shop assistant Levi (Vicky McClure), a suicidal businessman (Anthony Head), a dwarf cowboy (Verne Troyer), and a selection of odd characters who frequent 24 hour garages through the night; the friends’ plot begins to unravel and they are faced with either being arrested by the authorities or killed by the Russians.

The downside of this film is that it misses a play that feels glaring: I wanted everyone who enters the shop to be held hostage, like a criminal game of sardines. The decision to let most of the customers leave the store, blissfully oblivious that there is a robbery in progress made the film slightly simplistic and unsatisfying.

In its favour is some sharp (though occasionally self conscious) writing from Simon Fantauzzo, smooth direction by BAFTA winning Keri Collins, and a brilliant comedic performance by Adeel Akhtar (The Dictator, Four Lions, Utopia). Akhtar lights up every scene he is in – without him this would be a mildly pleasing Brit flick, but he lifts his scenes into the truly absurd.

I wouldn’t just say this was the best film I’ve seen in a while, but it’s better than many British comedies. A definite recommend if you enjoy the ridiculous, which I do.


Check out our cast interviews and photos from the Convenience premiere.

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