A short fall for actors who mostly appear in comedies is that they often get cast type cast. Jim Carrey is the most famous example of this, the manic persona he portrays in films such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask are often referred to him “playing himself”. It's very likely that this is indeed what Jim Carrey is like as a person, but he has never literally played himself in anything thus far.
The same can't be said however for Rob Brydon who has gained a lot of success in the comedy series The Trip, where he plays “Rob Brydon” alongside Steve Coogan who also plays himself. Brydon's other famous role is of course Uncle Bryn from Gavin and Stacey which isn't too dissimilar from his “character” in The Trip. This can be forgiven in a comedy, but when an actor is just playing themselves in a true story drama, then it becomes egregious.
Rob Brydon can't be solely blamed for this as it's clear that the director of The Best Of Men isn't the most creative visionary working. This film is the very definition of safe. From the moment Eddie Marsan's character bursts through the doors of a hospital room demanding things be changed, you know exactly where the story is going. The Best Of Men tackles all the same tired themes that every film about one person trying to change the status quo in a very conservative working environment does. Every single plot beat is derivative and dull.
Tim Whitby's direction falls completely flat; there are scenes that go on for way too long and some that just aren't needed at all. There's one scene in particular where Marsan's character storms down a flight of stairs and on his way down – because he's so frustrated following the events of the previous scene – he kicks over a trolley filled with bed pans. He then goes to pick them all up. Whitby thought it would be good to show the entire process of him cleaning up but knew it was going on for too long so he added several very ugly jump cuts.
It's not just Rob Brydon who's performance is one note. Eddie Marsan is of course the lead in this and he plays a German refugee Doctor. His character has two emotions; wise and prophetic or shouting and frustrated. The same goes for George McKay who's here in a very early and best forgotten role where he just seems tired and bored for the whole runtime.
The Best Of Men does tell quite an interesting story, one about the birth of the Paralympics. Sadly thought, it starts and ends the story a bit too early because the actual interesting stuff doesn't really start until the last five minutes. Like a lot of true story films, this would have been much better off as a documentary. It's certainly a film that will entertain grand parents, but for those wanting something more exciting, look ANYWHERE else.
The Best Of Men is available to buy on DVD/Blu-Ray now.