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.
Continue reading: 8 Minutes Idle Review
Tamara Drewe might originally be from the countryside but it's been years since she's visited the place of her youth. Much has changed in the small village from her childhood, but so has she! (with the help from a little cosmetic surgery).
Tamara returns the the village with her city ways to see a few of the other people have also adopted the city lifestyle. There's the rockstar (who's just after one thing..), the city workers who return to the village every weekend and there's the old citizens, the ones who've been around for ever. The beauty (and her hotpants) make a huge impact in the little village and all the men seem to adore her, but when it comes to finding the man who would be best for her, she might just surprise herself with her choice.
Running time: 107 minutes
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans, Tamsin Greig, Bronagh Gallagher, Pippa Haywood
Have a spookily musical Halloween this year.