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The Search for the Worst Movie Ever: Alfie Allen's 'Plastic'

By Cinesnark | Film | September 29, 2014 |

By Cinesnark | Film | September 29, 2014 |

People often tell me that they don’t watch American-produced movies because the entirety of American cinema is terrible, but they say this like everyone else isn’t making shitty movies, too, when in fact, everyone makes shitty movies. Case in point: Britain’s terrible Plastic, or as I like to call it Shitty Filmmaking Recognizes No Borders. Based on a true story—please, tell me which part is true—Plastic is basically Britain’s twenty-first century answer to Hackers, except boring. I’m not going to defend Hackers as a good movie—it was one of the first movies where I noticed obvious bad dubbing of additional dialogue as a kid—but at least it has some personality and pizzazz (mostly thanks to Angelina Jolie in her still-weird years). Plastic is devoid of anything resembling style. Insert titular pun here.

Plastic is about a group of pretty British boys who use identity theft and wire fraud to pay their way through school. It stars a C-class of British actors, headlined by a guy named Ed SPEELERS (which is tremendously fun to say), and also featuring Theon Greyjoy, the guy who can’t feel his bingo, and another one. At one point No-Bingo drinks a beer like he’s never seen a bottle before. It was the only part of the movie I cared about, because I was trying to figure out how he got his wrist to bend that way.

The central problem is that everyone in the movie is terrible. There are plenty of movies about Bad People Doing Bad Things but we still find ways to invest in the protagonists (see also: Pulp Fiction), but here, I care about no one. I don’t care that school is expensive—it’s expensive for everyone, suck it up—and I don’t care that these obnoxious twats get into hot water with actual gangsters when they rob the wrong guy. I don’t care about their big plan for one last score, I don’t care who lives or dies, and I don’t care whether or not SPEELERS reconciles with Obligatory Hot Chick, whom he used as part of the one last score.

I love heist movies, and I can lower my standards if the trade-off is an absorbing, exciting plot. The Italian Job (either version) is not high art cinema, but it is a well-paced and executed heist plot. But this is asking too much. Plastic is not only boring, it’s dumb—it’s a paint-by-numbers crime caper ripped off from the Guy Ritchie School of Dumb Criminals. That the characters are loathsome and/or uninteresting only exacerbates how many fucks I was not giving about this movie.

But not only is Plastic dumb, it’s ugly. Attempts at visual flair extend no further than helicopter shots of Miami, and for unknown reasons many scenes have weird brown lighting that makes it look like everything is covered with flecks of poo. And the sets are very cheap looking. The best set is a real gas station—built sets look incredibly fake. This movie was made for $10 million, which is more than enough to make a decent looking film that doesn’t have poo lighting. Plastic is now Exhibit A for the next time someone tells me how much better world cinema is than American. We make a lot of movies that are total crap, yes, but everyone else is just as capable of shitting the bed. That should be Plastic’s tagline. “Plastic: We can shit the bed, too!”


Cinesnark also writes reviews for her own outlet. You can follow her on Twitter.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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