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July 2008
Sixty Six

by Kam Williams

Sixty Six

Distributor: First Independent Pictures
Director: Paul Weiland
Screenwriter: Peter Straughan, Bridget O'Connor
Starring: Eddie Marsan, Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Rea, Catherine Tate, Peter Serafinowicz, Geraldine Somerville, Richard Katz, Ben Newton, Gregg Sulkin

Rated R for profanity and some sexual references.

Running time: 93 minutes


Coming-of-Age Comedy Chronicles British Bar Mitzvah Boy’s Nightmare

In the Summer of 1966, Great Britain became swept up in soccer fever, as the country attempted to win the World Cup. After all, the competition was being hosted by England, so the national team was able to play all of its games at famed Wembley Stadium in front of 98,000 rabid fans.

The competition began in early July with the championship match set for the 30th of the month. While the rest of his friends were patriotically rooting for England to survive all the early rounds, 12 year-old Bernie Reubens (Gregg Sulkin) had his own selfish reason for wanting it to lose.

You see, Bernie was born on July 30th and his parents (Helena Bonham Carter and Eddie Marsan) were planning to throw the perfect bar mitzvah celebration for him that day. But if England were simultaneously playing in the World Cup finale, he sensed that his rite of passage would easily be overshadowed.

Based on the real-life experience of the film’s director Paul Weiland, Sixty Six is a lighthearted, coming-of-age comedy which revisits the events of that fateful day. Unfortunately, for him, England did win the World Cup, which meant that many of his guests and relatives ended up paying more attention to the historic sports event that day than to him.

Apparently he was left sufficiently traumatized by the experience to make a movie about it now, some forty years later. This predictable costume drama might have a certain nostalgic appeal for soccer fans and folks familiar with Judaic culture and religious traditions. Otherwise, it’s just a pleasant one-trick diversion offering a few laughs but little of depth to sink one’s teeth into.

The Bar Mitzvah Boy gets the boot.