‘The Calcium Kid’: Milking it in the Ring

Chances are, you probably haven’t seen Alex De Rakoff’s 2004 mockumentary “The Calcium Kid,” starring “Lord of the Rings” hunk Orlando Bloom. For starters, the British comedy was never released in United States theaters. It is now on Netflix though.

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Written by De Rakoff along with Raymond Friel and Derek Boyle, “The Calcium Kid” mockumentary is narrated by faux documentarian Sebastian Gore-Brown (Mark Heap). Gore-Brown directed fictional documentary “Lawn Bowls: the Real Story,” and he’s our storyteller through the fight between hotshot world champion Jose Mendes (Michael Peña) and our unlikely British hero, the milkman Jimmy “The Calcium Kid” Connolly (Bloom).

This 89-minute B movie (with such a low budget that the film’s boom mic operator doubled as a film extra in a fight scene) resembles a cross between modern television sitcoms such as Mitchell Hurwitz’s “Arrested Development” and Damon Beesley and Ian Morris’ tween cringe comedy “The Inbetweeners.” Gore-Brown serves as our narrator of Jimmy’s unfortunate tale. And it is unfortunate.

Jimmy, of course, is a walking milk ad. He’s a milkman, delivering milk throughout his neighborhood in South London. He drinks three bottles of milk everyday and milk’s the reason his head is as hard as Homer Simpson’s. When his hard head puts the U.K.’s defending champion Pete Wright (Tamer Hassan) out of commission during a practice fight, Wright’s sleazeball manager Herbie Bush (Omid Djalili) installs no-name Jimmy “The Calcium Kid” Connolly as Wright’s replacement.

Like a WWE match, you know this game is rigged. De Rakoff’s mockumentary pokes fun at its genre. The pretentious narrator, Sebastian Gore-Brown, inserts himself into the storyline, interviewing the boxing champions. In one scene, Gore-Brown and his camera man are hiding in the closet, invasively filming through the shutters. In another scene, Gore-Brown is hanging around in Jimmy’s bedroom while Jimmy’s in bed. Gore-Brown’s cameraman, Dave, is frequently knocked out. (The film’s real camera man is also named Dave — David M. Dunlap).

“I thought you said this was fly in the wall, not spy in the cupboard,” Bush tells the documentary crew. “One word of warning, if you continue this peak-a-boo documentary style in the ring, a boxer’s natural instinct is to knock you into next week.”

To prepare for the fight for the world champion title, Jimmy is coached by the forgetful old drunk Paddy O’Flannagan (David Kelly) and his best friend, aspiring rapper Stan Parlour (Rafe Spall). They’re no Mr. Miyagi and O’Flannagan’s odd teaching methods seem to be based on whim rather than some higher purpose. Stan’s sometimes indistinguishable accent rivals Kelly’s from Brit sci-fi television drama “The Misfits.” They train to the “Rocky” theme, throwing punches to thin air while running his normal milk route.

Bloom is surprisingly fresh and earnest in this role, enthusiastically abiding by Bush’s schemes.

“I feel like Rocky when he finds out he’s going to pop out of Apollo Creed,” he says after he’s swindled into boxing defending world champion, Jose Mendes.

This naive mindset makes Jimmy likable enough. But even though you might like Jimmy, his character has no depth beyond the ring. Likewise, “The Calcium Kid” might be a somewhat amusing romp, but it’s one flick you might want to throw in the towel for.

“The Calcium Kid” was directed by Alex De Rakoff and written by De Rakoff, Raymond Friel and Derek Boyle. 

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