Unpopped Kernels: Convenience (2015)

This may sound like a sweeping statement but it’s completely true: British Comedy is the best. From the classic Monty Python era of hilarity, through the Carry On films, dark comedies of the nineties, and to modern heroes such as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost promoting a new generation of comedy, there is no denying that we just do comedy the best.

What’s more,  the British independent scene is the shit. We cultivate and help young artists and help them break that ceiling with their work. With BAFTA and BFI leading the charge, there is a whole lot of support for filmmakers.

Convenience is a film that marries these parts together happily.

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Convenience revolves around two friends Shaan and Ajay who find themselves in a bit of a pickle; Shaan has accidentally put the pair in thousands of pounds worth of debt because he simply went into a strip club to read. Dismayed, the pair decided to rob a local gas station to get the money but when they get there, they discover the 24 hour shop has a time-locked safe that won’t open until the morning. This means that Shaan and Ajay have to pretend to be workers in order to get the money…dealing with a night time of weird customers.

This film is a collection of raucous talents. The acting on this list is impressive. From Anthony Head to Verne Troyer, a whole host of famous faces saunter through that beeping door with hilarious characters and snippets of their life; all chaotic, entertaining, and sometimes desolate too. The main charm of the film, however, is through Ray Panthaki and Abeel Akhter’s performance as Ajay and Shaa, respectively. A duo act that’ll make you feel nostalgic, their pirouetting relationship as one naïve fool and one nervous clever one (who may actually be just as clueless) works well with the investment that the pair have with the characters. Their chemistry is electrifying and it buzzes off the screen. Add This Is England’s excellent Vicky McClure, who adds a sardonic presences to the mix, and this is a film of superb talented heights.

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Situational comedy at its best and richly dark too, Convenience is a happy marriage between a lot of different hysterical elements that work remarkably well. There’s the old buddy comedies such as Laurel and Hardy or Pryor and Wilder, which the tag team of Akhter and Panthaki lovingly embellish. There’s slapstick comedy and toilet humour, though the fart scene is truly crass, it still unearths a chuckle. There’s some odd characters and it utterly delves into the ridiculousness of its situation. And finally, it uncovers some bleaker moments with a devilish humour to it that only British comedy can capture. Sarcastic, droll, and outrageous – Convenience is so much fun to watch.

Convenience is low-budget but never really feels as such, with a brilliant slick action direction by Keri Collins and gloomy cinematography to match. Much more than that, it’s a celebration of independent movies in the British film industry. Panthaki and director Keri Collins have poured their soul into this, alongside some impressive actors, and that really comes through. Enhanced by this dedication, Convenience is not only a great film, it feels like a celebration of what makes our vibrant industry tick along. It’s a vital movie to invest in; not only will you be stupidly entertained, but you’ll be helping promote the excellence that flows through this great country.

Watch it if convenient. If not, watch it anyway.

Convenience is available on Netflix! 

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