There's a lot more, of course, as the story twists and turns through various subplots, all bursting with quirky and colourful characters brilliantly played by the veteran cast (Courtenay walks off with the whole film as Ralph's sardonic assistant). The younger cast struggles a bit more, as is usual with these films, simply because they don't have the depth of experience to invest their characters with ... well, character. Hunnam is certainly nice to look at, and he has a few strong scenes;while Bell, Garai and Hathaway (as the object of Nicholas' affections) are fine in badly underwritten roles. Meanwhile, Rachel Portman's gorgeous score augments the finely detailed production design, although it's photographed in a rather too-sunny TV-movie style. Besides the cast of scene-stealers, the film works as well as it does because of McGrath's use of a Tom Jones tone--bawdy humour and witty running gags combined with flashes of cruelty and tragedy. This is an enjoyable tale with a classic sense of fate and justice, enough comedy to keep us smiling, and not too much depth or resonance to worry us at all.
dir-scr Douglas McGrath|
with Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Christopher Plummer, Tom Courtenay, Anne Hathaway, Romola Garai, Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson, Kevin McKidd, Edward Fox, Timothy Spall, Gerard Horan, Nathan Lane, Barry Humphries, Alan Cumming, Nicholas Rowe
release US 27.Dec.02; UK 27.Jun.03
Buddies against the odds. Hunnam and Bell
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