When the grandmother who’s raised them dies (their parents having inexplicably died when their hot air balloon crashed and they were eaten, well, by lions…), orphaned half-brothers Omar (Antonio Aakeel) and Pete (Britain’s Got Talent’s Jack Carroll) leave behind their native Bradford for the bright lights of Blackpool in search of Omar’s biological father. 

After losing all their money and worldly possessions – Omar reckoning without the incoming tide when he left disabled Pete on the beach looking after their suitcase – the lads find a friend in sassy Amy (Sarah Hoare) who sorts them out with room and board (and terrible clothes) courtesy of her dodgy B’n’B- owning uncle (Johnny Vegas, who else?, in his Y-fronts).

But when they track down Omar’s dad, Irfan (Asim Chaudry), the feckless black sheep of a wealthy Asian clan of entrepeneurs, the boys troubles may just be beginning, particularly when Omar’s newfound cousin, the arguably psychotic Parveen (Natalie Davies), takes a liking to wisecracking kleptomaniac Pete…

Eaten By Lions is everything I hate about British cinema. 

With its mismatched, bickering brothers, it’s whimsical story and it’s reliable cast of UK soap actors and British comedians, Eaten By Lions belongs in that fine English tradition of twee plucky underdog comedies like The Full Monty, East Is East or Brassed Off, the kind of film that makes my skin crawl, that makes me want to poke out one of my eyes and bat it around my head like a Swingball until I lose consciousness. 

Eaten By Lions is everything I hate about British cinema. Eaten By Lions is…nice. 

And yet, I liked it. The film holds few surprises, everything pretty much unfolds as you’d expect (though the interlude with Johnny Vegas is remarkably worrying) but it’s charming and funny. Chaudhry just reprises his People Just Do Nothing schtick which personally I can take or leave, but the script is funny (particularly the Harry Potter gag…), the performances are good, Vicki Pepperdine and Kevin Eldon particularly as Pete’s middle-

class racist aunt and uncle, and the film is charming if not particularly memorable.

What makes Eaten By Lions stand out is the two young leads, Antonio Aakeel and Jack Carroll. Having risen to fame through Britain’s Got Talent and his semi-regular appearances on the likes of Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, Carroll gets all the best lines as the cynical, sarcastic Pete, a chancer who plays on his disabilities to get what he wants, while Aakeel quietly impresses as the more responsible Omar, his scenes with Sarah Hoare’s Amy sweetly romantic. But what makes the film is the chemistry between Aakeel and Carroll, their bickering, odd couple relationship making for an entertaining and convincing double act. 

Sweet, funny and almost completely divorced from reality, Eaten By Lions is a fun, charming waste of your time.

Movie Review: Eaten By Lions
3.5Overall Score
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