Olympic swimming champion Matthias Le Goff (Nicolas Gob) is disgraced after losing his temper live on air and using a homophobic slur. Disciplined by the national swim team, Matthias is given the responsibility of coaching a gay water polo team who are training to compete in the Gay Games. Taking over from previous coach Jean (Alban Lenoir), who is still part of the team but had to step back from coach duties for health reasons, Matthias soon realises he has his work cut out for him when he finds the men on the team prefer to party rather than seriously train.
The Shiny Shrimps is based on a true story and it’s a heart-warming tale that features a tragic, if not obvious, tragic turn. Matthias is the fish-out-of-water thrown into a job he doesn’t really want as he tries to overcome his poor heat-of-the-minute word choice. Not really homophobic, Matthias is punished after the national swim team believe that his words go directly against their ethics and moral stance. Upon arrival, Matthias discovers that Jean’s health issues are deeper than he’s allowed his team-mates to know and the two men begin to bond over their shared secret.
Initially reluctant to let himself enjoy his new role, Matthias begins to warm to The Shiny Shrimps as he learns more about them and understands how to get the best of each member. Frustrated by their unpredictable behaviour, he tries a variety of methods to whip them into line, not all of which are successful. Damien (Romain Lancry) is the oldest of the bunch and the most reluctant to listen to anything that Matthias says while the young members such as Xavier (Geoffrey Couēt) and Vincent (Félix Martinez) are more interested in hook-ups and parties.
The Shiny Shrimps brings to mind films such as The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in that it’s a feel-good tale that will likely appeal wider than its intended audience. There’s plenty of humour packed into the script and the performances from the ensemble are very strong. They have a chemistry together that radiates from the screen and Nicolas Gob plays Matthias expertly, allowing the character to warm slowly to his new circumstances. One of the standouts in the cast is Romain Brau who plays trans character Fred, a flamboyant explosion of energy.
The release features six featurettes that take you behind-the-scenes of the film with the cast and crew. The Boys Boys Boys Shrimp-A-Long lets you sing along to one of the best scenes in the movie while Le Making Of – The Gay Games gives you a brief insight into how the climax of the film came together. The extras, while not overly extensive, add value to the overall package.
The Shiny Shrimps is the kind of film that will leave you with a big smile on your face. The narrative doesn’t particularly take any unexpected turns so there’s little in the way of surprises but the cast will win you over very quickly. There’s such a camaraderie when they’re all together and you can’t help but get swept up in the rush of the film. It makes use of every minute it has and it’ll make you laugh plenty along the way.
Cast: Nicolas Gob, Alban Lenoir, Michaël Abiteboul, David Baïot, Romain Lancry, Rolan Menou, Geoffrey Couët, Romain Brau, Félix Martinez Directors: Maxime Govsre, Cédric Le Gallo Certificate: 15 Duration: 103 mins Released by: Peccadillo Pictures Release date: 13th January 2020 Buy The Shiny Shrimps