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Film / The Parole Officer

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The Parole Officer is a 2001 British comedy film directed by John Duigan and starring Steve Coogan as Simon Garden, a clumsy, socially-inept parole officer who witnesses a murder. Framed by the murderer, Garden must gather together a mismatched band of ex-criminals in order to recover the security tape that would both clear his name and indict the real killer.

Critically accepted as So Okay, It's Average, it is a rare example of a modern British heist film, involving a convoluted scheme and a deliciously evil bad guy.


Contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: In a deleted scene, Kirsty explains that her dad used to beat her when she was a child.
  • Accidental Pervert: Garden is sitting politely on Emma's bed while she gets dressed in the next room. Then her cat pushes the wardrobe mirror around, giving him an enviable view...
  • Actor Allusion: The theatrical poster featured glowing and condemnatory quotes from Coogan's other comedic personas.
  • Bank Robbery: In that they rob a bank, but the caper goes off on a Sunday, avoiding most of the subtropes.
  • Beneath the Mask / Stepford Smiler: Colin claims to love his new job at the (now defunct) Time Computers, but in reality hates it with a virulent passion.
  • Caper Crew:
    • The Mastermind: Garden
    • The Hacker: Colin
    • The Gadget Guy: George
    • The Muscle: Jeff
    • The Driver: Kirsty
    • The Legendary Thief: Victor
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  • Caper Rationalization: Basically the entire plot. Garden's crime is executed entirely to clear his name and gather the evidence to convict the real killer.
  • Clear My Name: Garden's primary motivation.
  • Computer Virus: A vital aspect of the plan, uploaded via a amateurish-looking porn site.
  • Delayed Reaction: A variant, when the crew are on top of the West Clyde Bank, waiting for Colin's virus to set off every bank alarm in the city. Simon counts down to zero hour - and nothing happens. For about ten seconds.
  • The Ditz: Jeff.
  • Fanservice: 3 words: Lena Headey naked. Also, a deleted scene where Simon enters a room full of strippers.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The George-Operated TimeLock Equalizing Robot or "GOTLER"
  • Gag Penis: On a fetility statue. Apparently, touching the penis grants virility. Of course, it snaps off in Simon's hand.
  • The Great British Copper Capture: Played with hilariously, since Garden is a very pacifistic person and has to be constantly prompted by his "prisoner" to maintain the act.
  • Little Miss Badass: Kristy
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A deleted scene would reveal that Simon had once campaigned against the 'unjust' firing of a teacher who turned out to be a paedophile. It was excised for taking Simon's character as an amiable loser a bit too far.
  • Pass the Popcorn: The event that gets Simon caught, he scarfs down a packet of crisps while watching the murder to counteract his hypoglycemia. He chokes, and the plot takes off...
  • Safe Cracking: Kinda-sorta, in that the gang have to get through the vault door using a code, but there's no stethoscopes or dial-twiddling.
  • Super Window Jump: Hilariously subverted - Simon uses a crossbow to set up a rope-swing, hits the window dead-center - and splats like a bird, falling twenty feet to the floor.
    Simon Garden: [sheepish] Toughened glass.
    Police Officer: It's a bank!
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Simon has lunch with George, and then they ride on a rollercoaster while discussing the upcoming heist. Given Simon's delicate stomach this turns out to be very bad news for the Cheerful Child Girl Scout sitting directly behind him.
  • Vulgar Humor: Simon pukes directly into a young girl's face three times.
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: See Accidental Pervert above.
  • Where Do You Think You Are?: Combined with Super Window Jump.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Burton threatens to shoot Kristy.