running time 86
production company Tiger Aspect Productions
Lee Evans and Ray Winstone
written and directed
by Tony Grounds
produced by Dixie Linder and Greg Brenman
Released in the UK on 14 September 2001.
Check out the official The Martins website here.
More information at the Internet Movie Database.
Andrew Anthony in The Observer says:
Lee Evans plays a no-hoper called Robert Martin, who takes his mother-in-law, his wife (Kathy Burke), their son and pregnant teenage daughter on a 'dream holiday' that he steals from an elderly but well-off couple. The Martins is supposed to show us that even nightmare families are human at heart, but no one seems to know what they are doing here. The tone and characterisation are all over the place, from broad comedy to social realism, without ever being funny or true to life. Evans is given plenty of rope and duly hangs himself.
At times it's as if Norman Wisdom were dropped into a Ken Loach film, only it's not nearly as interesting as that sounds. Burke is the best thing in the film, acting her heart out to convince us that someone could love Evans's Martin. But it's a confused mess that has nothing to say and yet still says it loudly. There is one good scene, though, in which Ray Winstone gives Evans a good kicking. Alas, it only lasts for a few seconds - about an hour and a half too short.
Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian is more positive:
Originally saddled with the box-office-poison title Tosspot, this strangely depressing comedy drama stars Lee Evans and Kathy Burke as the sub-Wayne-and-Waynetta parents of a "problem family" on a Hatfield council estate. Evans, a ragingly insecure loser, convinces himself he has won a holiday in a local newspaper competition, ties up the actual winners in their basement and takes his brood off to the winners' cottage in the Isle of Man (this movie having blagged its own jackpot from the Isle of Man Film Commission, which is rewarded with some scenes showing their island as a veritable tourist paradise). This film is actually not as bad as industry gossip has suggested: there's a decent cast here doing an honest job, but the whole thing suffers from a fatal uncertainty of tone. And what's worse, Evans has some comedy-thriller business with a handgun: the sine qua non of a terrible British film.
James Christopher in The Times writes:
Im not a huge fan of performances fuelled entirely by self-pity, but Lee Evanss Robert Martin is a forgivable clown. There are shades of Frank Spencer about his performance. The Martins are the kind of scum that people on their Hertfordshire housing estate cross the road to avoid. Evans is unemployable. His wife (Kathy Burke) is a slob. Their son is bullied at school. And their 14-year-old daughter is pregnant. Youre everything that makes this country s, screams their apoplectic next-door neighbour. Few would disagree.
Failing to win the holiday of a lifetime in the local rag, Evans decides to steal it from a smugger-than-thou editor (Paddy Considine). And so it goes as they all pile off to the Isle of Man with the police in lukewarm pursuit. Its sweet and sour: an excellent advert for selective breeding.
Anthony Quinn in The Independent is also not keen:
Difficult to know who might want to go and see The Martins, unless Lee Evans has unsuspected battalions of fans. He plays a clueless toerag named Robert Martin, who flips out when he fails to win an "island holiday" prize for his wife (Kathy Burke) and kids. Armed with a gun, he sets about putting things right. Writer-director Tony Grounds not only misjudges the tone, which wobbles between sentimental farce and kitchen-sink realism, but fails to see that the toilet-mouthed, mullet-sporting Martin isn't a loveable loser merely a pain in the neck. "You are the people we cross the road to avoid," his next-door neighbour tells him; you should do likewise with this movie.
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