British filmmaker Martin Simon Hewis uses dark humour and visual trickery to overcome what is clearly a very small budget. So even if the comedy feels low-key and uneven, it continually catches us off-guard with inventive touches that bring out deeper themes. It's also strongly reminiscent of that time of life when youthful carelessness has to give way to grown-up responsibilities. And the characters are hilariously realistic.
Set in a Bristol call centre, the story focuses on Dan (Hughes), a hapless guy who has just been thrown out of his house by his angry mother (Haywood), who's sure he let his drunken dad (Kaye) steal her winning lottery ticket. With nowhere to live, Dan takes his cat and camps out in the office without telling his colleagues, a gang of bored phone operators (including Thomas, Ashton and Ladwa) who liven things up with pranks and after-hours partying. But his life gets even more complicated when his maneating boss (Lombard) tells him to sack Teri (Lovibond), the coworker he has a secret crush on.
In other words, amid all of the workplace antics, Dan needs to grow up and sort out his life. But it's a lot more fun to hang out with his goofy colleagues and let someone else take responsibility. The script nicely captures this time of life without ever getting heavy-handed about it, focussing on the colourful characters and situations as well as the internal fantasies that torment Dan. Hughes plays him as one of those standard British protagonists who can't quite get anything right, and yet we root for him. Lovibond is a feisty foil for him, although their rom-com subplot remains in the film's margins. And the surrounding cast bring all kinds of sparky wit to their roles.
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When Charlie Countryman boarded a plane to Bucharest in Romania after a hallucination of his late mother told him to, it became both the best and worst decision he'd ever make. He becomes embroiled in the life of a middle-aged man who dies beside him on the flight and is forced to meet his daughter; a strikingly beautiful cellist named Gabi; with whom he sets out to uncover the mysteries he left behind. Along the way he meets her party-loving friends who welcome him with open arms and he finds himself falling increasingly in love with her. However, things take a turn for the worst when her crime boss husband Nigel shows up on her doorstep with no intention of letting Charlie take her off his hands. Charlie can do nothing but fiercely protect his lover, but to do that, he is forced to lay down his life.
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Charlie Countryman is a regular guy who is prompted to travel to Bucharest in Romania after experiencing a vision of his deceased mother. However, along the way, fate intervenes when a middle-aged man dies in his sleep while seated beside Charlie, and he is suddenly embroiled in the case of his death. He meets his striking musician daughter Gabi who he vows to help find out what happened to her father, while getting involved with her party-hard, drug-taking friends. The pair begin to fall head over heels in love with each other, but when her crime boss husband Nigel appears, things take a turn for the worst for Charlie. Attempting to stand up for himself and protect his new lover, he endures several emotional and physical attacks from the ruthless Nigel before realising the only way he can save Gabi; he must die for her.
Continue: Charlie Countryman Trailer
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