Tube driver Paul, having had two people fall under his train in a week, learns that a third will win him a handsome redundancy. Scouring the web and the streets for a suicidal volunteer, he peruades Tommy, an Irish down-and-out, to take the plunge, and the pair take off for one last weekend before seeing their deal through. Rare winning moments aside, Three and Out is unconvincing, uneven and unfunny: a severe points failure.
The film's bleak premise could have made for a decent black comedy but, the first few unsettling minutes apart, all that remains of note is a relieving patch of middle ground on the plod from witless comedy to please-let-it-end melodrama. There it finds some much needed warmth in note-perfect turns from Imelda Staunton and Annette Badland (the former as Tommy's estranged wife), while Bond-girl-in-waiting Gemma Arterton makes a decent fist of a thin role as Tommy's bitter daughter and Paul's improbable love-interest.
"STOPPED DEAD IN ITS TRACKS"
Mackenzie Crook - surely the only lead ever cast because he looks like a train driver - and Colm Meaney - suicidal tramp to cheery rogue in one fell shave - try hard to make unlikeable characters shine. Most of the gags, however, fall flat, while some dreary slapstick and the categorical refusal of either of them to think beyond the eye-stabbingly obvious means any momentum they generate is stopped dead in its tracks.
Three and Out is out in the UK on 25th April 2008.