Weak at Denise
Wedding bells. The happiest day of their lives ... or is it?
dir Julian Nott
scr Graham Williams, Julian Nott
with Bill Thomas, Chrissie Cotterill, Craig Fairbrass, Tilly Blackwood, Claudine Spiteri, Edna Dore, Jean Ainslie, Richard Dixon, Alexis Saunders, Terry Duggan, Ben Thomas, James Alexander
release UK 1.Jun.01
00/UK 1h26
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
This gentle British rom-com has very vicious overtones! And while it's all a bit shambolic and amateurish, it also has the rare ability to keep a silly grin on our faces. Colin (Thomas) is a nerdy, middle-aged mama's boy who runs into the girl he had a crush on in school, the still-vampy Denise (Cotterill). Surprised that she remembers him, he decides to pursue her as his one last chance for happiness after his mother finally dies. But Denise has other plans--a scam with her boss-lover Roy (Fairbrass) to bilk Colin of his inheritance. Meanwhile, Roy is also plotting with his scheming accountant Wendy (Blackwood) to leave Denise out in the cold. And it doesn't end there, as both Wendy and Denise's punk daughter (Spiteri) have conniving plots of their own.

All of this double-dealing gets very silly indeed, and yet at the film's centre there's such a warm, heartfelt romance that you suspend your disbelief, ignore the film's cheesy production values and accept the ludicrous plot for what it is. The performances are right on the money, occasionally drifting into camp sketch territory, but hinting at some subtext in the characters' lives--Thomas and Cotterill are especially good, balancing the comedy with both pathos and a hint of cruel mischief at every turn. It's very rare indeed to see a middle-aged romance on screen, and Nott and Graham have a great time undercutting it with nasty wit and irony, while never belittling the need for love wherever we are in our lives. Sure, the whole thing is little more than an expanded TV comedy--unambitious and fairly crudely assembled--but it's also an enjoyably scruffy alternative to the slick, mind-numbing blockbusters showing on the other screens at the multiplex.
adult themes and situations, language cert 18 29.May.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall