Oh Marbella (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The last decade has brought about a radical change in the types of British films that make it across the pond. Go back a decade or more, and the only films we saw from the UK were either stuffy Merchant-Ivory period pieces, or tedious social commentaries about the destructive nature of the class system. An occasional comedy would sneak through, but it would either be a wacky look at historical personages (they must have a lot of period costumes sitting around), or a wry look at how the butler is actually a far more competent human being than the lord of the manor.

Then it all changed about a decade ago. We still get to see only two different types of films, but now it's two different types. They are either dark comedies about ultra-violent, drug-fueled gangsters with heavy working class accents; or big-hearted comedies about eccentric provincials who have indecipherable regional accents and grow dope or get naked in public or something else odd but endearing. This film never did make it to the USA, but it is actually a hybrid of both!

It is about Brits on vacation in southern Spain, so it includes the eccentric people who get naked, the stuffy people who eventually find the nudity endearing, the small-time con men who peddle various real estate scams, and the violent drug-fueled gangsters who are either retired in Spain or trying to kill the guys who are retired in Spain. As for the tone of the film, it is from the "eccentric, big-hearted" school of British comedy rather than the black-hearted type found in the Guy Richie gangster films. The two separate types may be in the same movie, but their paths don't cross much. The stories basically move in parallel. I never saw any naked ultra-violent gangsters, for example.

Although Oh Marbella is a joint project of the UK and Germany and was filmed in Spain, there are few Spanish or German people to be seen. It is basically a silly, unchallenging, British comedy. It's more cute and charming than laugh-out-loud funny, but I found it a pleasant enough diversion.


  • Not available in Region 1

  • Region 2 DVD is widescreen, but letterboxed, NOT enhanced for 16x9
  • Info from Amazon Deutchland here




  • If you are into Charlotte Lucas or Sara Stockbridge, you've found heaven because they are frequently prancing around stark naked, showing all.

  • Lara Belmont shows her buns, and her breasts from the side.

  • David Gant and Craig Kelly show the full monty.

  • Various extras and minor characters are naked, including many frontals from people of both sexes.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C. It makes up in good-hearted charm what it lacks in big laughs, and there's scads of nudity.

Return to the Movie House home page