Wholesome, well meaning and utterly dull
ANGUS, THONGS AND PERFECT SNOGGING Directed by Gurinder Chadha. Starring Georgia Groome, Eleanor Tomlinson, Liam Hess, Alan Davies, Karen Taylor, Tommy Bastow PG cert, gen release, 100 min
JOINING BABY MAMA in the anti- Batman counter-programming slot, we find the latest film from nice old Gurinder Chadha. You remember her. She made Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice and Bhaji on the Beach: films that were as good-natured, well meaning and wholesome as they were dull and clunky.
Following four secondary-school pupils as they fall in and out of love in Eastbourne, this adaptation of Louise Rennison’s popular tweenie novel originally promised “full-frontal” rather than “perfect” snogging in its title. I don’t imagine we would ever have wanted a teenage version of Sex and the City, but, following bowdlerisation, what we been have left with will surely prove too anaemic for even the most sheltered of teenagers.
The plot, insofar as this murmur of incident could be so dignified, finds Georgia (Georgia Groome) falling in love with a boy who plays in a band supposedly influenced by “Radiohead and Pink Floyd”. While she allows herself to become absorbed in misery, her amiable dad (a well-cast Alan Davies) is contemplating a move to New Zealand. Will she get the guy? Will she learn to appreciate her father’s decency?
If you really have to ask, then you may wish to have that spanner removed from your brain. The dialogue appears to have been assembled by somebody who has some idea of teenage vernacular, but no notion how the various modish phrases fit together. Hearing odd quasi-sentences emerge from Eleanor Tomlinson, the startlingly Knightley-esque actor who plays Georgia’s pal, has quite a discombobulating effect.
Still, Groome has real charm and the film is worth seeing for a stunning performance from the biggest, ugliest, meanest house cat in contemporary cinema. Oh, and the dishy guy’s band, apparently unmoved by Piper at the Gates of Dawn or OK Computer, actually sound exactly like McFly. But you already knew that.
Growing up has never been so predictable