It's as wholesome as a pint of the white stuff, but The Calcium Kid is in desperate need of a backbone. Orlando Bloom is distinctly wishy-washy as the eponymous underdog boxer made good in this mild-mannered mockumentary by first-time director Alex De Rakoff. For all its good intentions and plucky determination, The Calcium Kid lacks serious comic punch and instead finds itself pasted by a heavy slathering of clotted cuteness.
The impossibly nice Jimmy Connelly (Orlando Bloom) starts out as a milkman, serving the high-rise blocks of Sarf London, and dreaming - on his most outlandish days - of becoming regional manager for Express Milk Dairies. Although he looks like he'd have trouble punching a clock without hurting himself, Jimmy spends the remainder of his time sparring at the local gym where he manages to land a blow that puts Britain's top boxer, Pete Wright (Tamer Hassan), out of the running for the international middleweight title.
"DESPERATE JABS AT COMEDY"
With world champ Jose Mendez (Michael Pena) flying in from LA for the much-touted "Melee on The Telly", fly-by-night boxing promoter Herbie Bush (Omid Djalili) slaps the gloves on Connelly and pushes him into the ring. But it's not the boxing ring that Connelly finds so alien, it's the media circus that threatens to beat him into submission before he can take his shot at the title.
If any questions remain about how corny this film can get, behold the obligatory running-through-the-streets-like-Rocky training montage complete with original fanfare. This mightn't be so cringeworthy except there's no attempt to send up the clichés. Instead, De Rakoff makes desperate jabs at comedy with interview sequences where the subject either mispronounces something or someone in the background falls over.
Only Djalili offers up any genuine laughs with his bumbling and blustering portrayal of a cut-price Don King - although the script often weighs him down with gags as subtle as a sledgehammer. Over-egged, half-baked, and too darn sweet, The Calcium Kid is little more than cinematic creampuff.