Moone Boy is made for the 12-year-olds who might identify with Martin Moone (David Rawle), a 12-year-old who’s accompanied everywhere by his imaginary friend, Sean (Chris O’Dowd). But it’s also for the 12-year-old in all of us, particularly those of us who, like creator and co-star O’Dowd, were 12 or thereabouts in the summer of 1990.
That was the year Ireland qualified for the World Cup for the first time and the entire nation is swept up by football fever and national pride. The entire nation that is, except for Martin’s dad, Liam (Peter McDonald), who wants to take the whole family on holiday and escape the “hustle and bustle” of their life in the small, rural town of Boyle. Their destination, Donegal, is only two counties over, but it might as well be Timbuktu – or, worse, England – as far as proud “Boylist” Martin is concerned. He’d rather be at home, cheering on the boys.
Like My Mad Fat Diary, Moone Boy is enlivened with the main character’s animated doodles – a current TV trend which is yet to fall out of fashion. “You know what me and the Irish team have in common?” said Martin to Sean. “We’re both amazing at drawing!”
That’s the kind of schoolboy gag that only an imaginary friend should find amusing, but, somehow, Moone Boy has enough charm to make it hilarious.