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

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Listings - DON­ALD CLARKE

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

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