2/5     4 Girls. 3 Days. 2 Cities. 1 Chance.
dir Noel Clarke, Mark Davis
scr Noel Clarke
prd Damon Bryant, Noel Clarke, Mark Davis, Dean O'Toole
with Emma Roberts, Tamsin Egerton, Ophelia Lovibond, Shanika Warren-Markland, Noel Clarke, Michelle Ryan, Gregg Chillin, Jacob Anderson, Susannah Fielding, Alexander Siddig, Helen McCrory, Ben Miller
release UK 2.Jun.10
10/UK Universal 1h55
Best friends forever: Egerton, Lovibond, Roberts and Warren-Markland

clarke ryan mccrory
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E There's an interesting idea in this film, as we watch four people over the same three days while their experiences converge into one story. But the plot is riddled with holes and filmmaker Clarke strains to hold it together.

Four pals go their separate ways for a fateful weekend. Shannon (Lovibond) is struggling with dark emotions as her parents split up, but her friends seem too busy to listen. Cass (Egerton) is flying to New York for an important audition and also to lose her virginity to an internet friend, but neither go as planned. Kerrys (Warren-Markland) is the loudest member of her boisterous family, clashing with her brother (Chillin) while her girlfriend (Fielding) cheers her on. And Jo (Roberts) is stuck working in the family shop through two eventful nights.

Each story strand hinges around TV news reports about a diamond heist that weaves into the film through low-life gangsters, a sleek mystery woman (Ryan) and a bag of loot. Described as a masterful crime, it actually seems pretty slapdash since the normal lives of these four girls derail it so easily. As a result, the film is both contrived and restless, and the nicely played emotional scenes end up as mere melodrama.

Kinetic filmmaking, lively editing style and strong personalities almost distract us. But to maintain the mystery, Clarke continually cuts away from scenes before we're sure what's up, which leaves the overall plot feeling pointless. When things start to come together, they're simply not clever or involving enough. And despite the female empowerment theme, the camera seems to leer at far too many scantily clad women.

We're left with a few solid performances in underwritten roles and a handful of offbeat cameos, including Kevin Smith as a chatty airplane passenger, Eve as a tough-girl street hood and Mandy Patinkin as a famed pianist. But of the central foursome, only Roberts and Lovibond manage to create interesting characters, while the clearly talented Clarke (as Jo's brute of a boss) unsuccessfully tries to steal the show. That he gives himself a prominent "and" casting credit tells us what this film is really about.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 10.May.10

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