Rating: R for language and sexuality
Run Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Andie MacDowell sheds her perpetual good-girl image by getting down to basics and seducing a sexy young thing some fifteen years her junior. Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson!
Prurient playthings aside, there’s little to love about this English trifle. MacDowell is Kate, headmistress at a swanky private school and friend to Molly (sultry English physician with a penchant for divorce, played by Anna Chancellor) and Janine (feisty, no-nonsense police inspector, played by Imelda Staunton). Three forty-something singletons who regularly indulge in chocolate, gin, cigarettes and salacious sex-life gossip.
The dynamic changes when Kate meets Jed (Kenny Doughty), an ex-pupil who’s moonlighting as the church organist. Quick as an organ joke Kate and Jed are getting it on in the church cemetery. And the vestry. And the backseat of Kate’s Volvo. According to Jed, “once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a thing”. Kate and Jed are officially a thing.
Much to the dismay of the lecherous ladies of tittle-tattle. Molly and Janine are displeased with what they consider the unsuitability of a mere physical attraction. Considering themselves experts in the field of bad matches, they take it upon themselves to put a stop to Kate and Jed’s.
Expand the bawdier moments of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” into a feature-length film and you get the drift. Seamy double-entendres punctuate a hardy-har-har script that never quite finds its footing. Billed as a romantic comedy, the film feels genuine only during a few isolated dramatic moments that crop up in the last half hour. By then the icky slapsticky sensibility has overwhelmed the narrative.
Andie MacDowell always has been and always will be a phenomenally bad actress. A stronger artist could have lent some charm to the seductress/older woman role and a spark of chemistry to the May-December romance. Doughty is a find – sexy and headstrong with a still, sensitive side (which is completely wasted on MacDowell). Supporting ladies do their best with the material offered them. Snappy soundtrack includes a couple of tunes from cult songster Nick Drake (!), but it’s too little too late.