A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie eventually shows the importance of working hard and as a team. Believing in yourself even if the odds are stacked against you. Some racist and bigoted behavior, though this is intended to show the perpetrators' ignorance.
Positive Role Models
Mike is brash and crude, and not particularly skilled. But he mostly works hard and is committed to his job as the manager of the England soccer team. He is also loyal to and supportive of his players and family. The English soccer players express a will to win, but are often incompetent and self-sabotaging, rather than model sporting professionals.
The main characters are mostly male and British. Greater diversity among the supporting cast. Female characters in supporting roles. Some representation of people living with disabilities. Some characters express racist behavior. Although this is done to show their ignorance, only one is criticized for it. Stereotype portrayals of British and non-British characters used for comedic effect.
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Violence & Scariness
Some rough challenges, confrontations, and altercations on the soccer pitch, all played for comic effect. Plastic bottle thrown lightly at character's head. Punch thrown, causing bloody injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Full-frontal male nudity, with genitals pixelated. Characters appear shirtless. One bears their backside.
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Language used includes "f--king," "s--t," "bloody," "arse," and "bollocks." "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation. British swear words "wanker" and "twat" also used. Ethnic and racist slurs include Scottish people being referred to as "Jocks," Irish people as "Paddies" and a "Fenian," and Latin Americans as "Wops" and "Pedro." Some swearing beeped out for comic effect.
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Products & Purchases
One player is preoccupied with expensive possessions.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character celebrating holds a sealed bottle of champagne. Other characters drink to excess and play rowdy drinking games in a pub. Character injures themselves while driving over the legal limit. Character smokes cigars. Character mixes antidepressants with alcohol as a means to self-medicate.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mike Bassett: England Manager is a British sporting comedy filmed in the style of a mockumentary, with strong language and some nudity played for comedic effect. The movie is very British in its humor, satirizing the problems associated with the English national soccer team of the 1990s and 2000s. It features few positive role models but Mike (Ricky Tomlinson) does his best to apply himself and help England win the World Cup. Swearing features throughout, including "f--king," "s--t," "bollocks," and the British swear words "wanker" and "twat." Non-English soccer players -- such as Scottish, Irish, and Latin American characters -- are also referred to by ethnic and racists slurs. Much of the characterizations are deliberately based on preconceptions, but could enforce stereotypes. For example the non-British soccer players are portrayed as being more intelligent and better disciplined than their unprofessional British counterparts. There is mild nudity, mainly in the locker rooms. The movie's mockumentary format means that explicit nudity is blurred out. Drinking is occasional, typically to celebrate, with characters shown as boisterous rather than drunk. Although, one character does drink to excess off-screen and is arrested for driving under the influence. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite its underdog charm endearing it to some at the time, this 2001 British mockumentary now resembles an ancient piece of soccer history. The main problem with Mike Bassett: England Manager is that the era of the sport that it portrays -- English people skeptical of non-British players and sport science, while glorifying determination over talent -- has mostly been forgotten. England now has a national team who compete consistently in major tournaments and are no longer the laughing stock of international soccer that they were when the film was first released.
British comedy veteran Ricky Tomlinson is perfectly cast as Mike Bassett -- a stereotypical, bolshy but dedicated English manager who is treated with disdain by the sporting authorities and the press. However, he can't lift a limited script that relies on jokes that fail to hit their targets, while surrounding him with limp caricatures of England's star players of the day. The main point the movie tries to make -- that English soccer fans shouldn't expect too much of their team and that nothing will ever change -- has been shown to be a fallacy, something that probably dooms Mike Bassett to be another England manager who people struggle to remember.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.