At first glance, this movie looks like yet another of the Crap British Gangster Film
cycle (aka Lock, Stock and Two or More Cockney Arseholes
). But this movie manages to distinguish itself from the crowd by being played for laughs, and what's more, actually funny.
Before I go on, I should point out that LH&O is not exactly a great example of a comedy film, in the scheme of things. It's rather sloppily put together and feels like a series of skits. It's about the standard of an OK-ish BBC TV movie, except with more violence. But it is entertaining, and doesn't bend over backwards trying to be cool and edgy like Guy Ritchie's turds.
Ray Winstone plays (wait for it) a London gang boss, whose son (played by the clearly disinterested Jude Law) lets his best friend (the punchable Johnny Lee Miller*) into the gang so they can rip off credit cards from Miller's courier firm. Miller becomes disillusioned with the gangster lifestyle and tries to stir up a war between two rival gangs. It's also got Denise Van Outen and Kathy Burke in it, to up the cockney factor, and in case anyone was still wondering if this film was daft.
The film's point (I suppose) is that gangsters aren't cool, sophisticated people, but are in fact just ordinary folk with ordinary problems. They're violent and callous because, underneath, they're weak. So we have subplots involving an impotent club bouncer (leading to Carry On standard** viagra gags), a geeky gofer called Fat Alan (who gets stabbed, drugged, tortured and all manner of other indignities, all of which elicit nothing but laughs from his 'friends'), and a paranoid Welsh hitman (Rhys Ifans, actually being extremely funny in places).
In summing up, I'd say that this film is worth seeing if you share its rather odd sense of humour. There are a number of great gags in there, but it's rather flimsy and overlong. A good rental movie rather than a DVD purchase (God, I sound like Variety or something there).
*The film redeems itself in this respect by casting Miller as a complete git and giving him mercifully little screen time.
**Not that there's anything wrong with that.