Film review by John Campbell
It is fair to say that nobody expects Earth moving profundity from your run of the mill romantic comedy. But a modicum of wit and empathy can go a long way towards keeping a film in your head for longer than it takes to get from the cinema to Woolies to buy the cat and dog food. Sadly, this dreary little number has neither.
Nat (Rose Byrne) is a high powered, painfully skinny businesswoman running a groovy advertising agency in London. Josh (Rafe Spall) is a struggling writer. As newlyweds, they are discovering that their match was not made in heaven after all. Temptation presents itself to them in the form of tanned and urbane Guy (Simon Baker) and mousy ex-girlfriend Chloe (Anna Faris), each of whom is obviously a more suitable partner for the disenchanted husband and wife.
Will the strained marriage survive into a second year? Quite frankly, it’s hard to care either way. To say that any joke is not funny is a perilous judgment, for people are tickled by the darnedest things. While I sat through ninety-seven laughless minutes (it felt much longer), there were plenty around me who cacked themselves with mirth, primarily at conversation once considered vulgar but which is now the default setting for what is deemed sophisticated dialogue.
Byrne appears bemused throughout, wondering perhaps how on Earth she was roped into such a venture in the first place, while Spall at no time comes to grips with a poorly drawn, unconvincing character. Baker, letting his raffish coiffure and chic stubble do all the work, has the gluggy magnetism of a poached egg, but Faris does well to provide the lacklustre ensemble with credibility and warmth. As Josh’s gauche best man and longtime buddy – a staple ingredient in the genre – Stephen Merchant is idiotic and crass.
Coming to terms with a failed relationship is a subject not often broached in date movies and, though there is the occasional acute observation, it is hard to see this one establishing any lasting precedent.