When Harry quit Hog­warts

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

DE­CEM­BER BOYS Di­rected by Rod Hardy. Star­ring Daniel Rad­cliffe, Teresa Palmer, Chris­tian Byers, Lee Cormie, James Fraser, Jack Thompson PG cert, gen re­lease, 105 min NO CLICHE of the comin­gof- age movie, how­ever weary, re­mains un­vis­ited in Daniel Rad­cliffe's first, fit­ful at­tempt to es­cape the shadow of a cer­tain young wizard.

Fol­low­ing four Aus­tralian or­phans as they hol­i­day by the sea, De­cem­ber Boys fea­tures, of course, a scene where the boys spy upon a women un­dress­ing be­fore the mir­ror. We also get a furtive first kiss that will linger on the lips for­ever, an el­derly lu­natic who im­parts an­cient wis­dom, co­pi­ous pop hits from yes­ter­year and – you’re well ahead of me – an epi­logue in which the lads, now old men, re­visit the scene of their for­ma­tive ad­ven­tures.

None of this would mat­ter if the story were a lit­tle less clunky and the ac­tors a lit­tle less un­com­fort­able look­ing. De­cem­ber Boys, which is based on a novel by Michael Noo­nan, brings the lads, in­mates at a sur­pris­ingly cosy Catholic or­phan­age, to an idyllic spot for a Christ­mas by the sea. In be­tween kisses and scuf­fles, they en­counter a pretty young cou­ple, who, cur­rently child­less, let slip that they might adopt one of the boys. Sorry?

While the other boys are suit­ably cal­low, Rad­cliffe, his swelling bits un­com­fort­ably crammed into em­bar­rass­ingly tiny shorts, hardly looks of an age to cud­dle up to young par­ents. If they re­ally did want to adopt some­body from Harry Pot­ter, they may as well turn their at­ten­tion to Sir Michael Gam­bon or Dame Mag­gie Smith.

Still, the young star does the best he can, and the scenery is pretty enough to dis­tract from the many, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing ab­sur­di­ties. Daniel will, how­ever, have to find a script with a bit more fi­bre to it if he is to launch a proper re­treat from Hog­warts. DON­ALD CLARKE

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