a little east of reality

Monday, October 06, 2008

movie review: angus, thongs and perfect snogging


Monday was a public holiday here, so I got along to the flicks with a friend from work.

I had pretty high hopes for this movie (here's the trailer) as it was made by the same people who did Bend it Like Beckham. Where that movie was clever, funny and offbeat, this one was insightful, but a little over-directed. It actually reminded me of Bridget Jones' Diary, but of course BJD is told from the wry perspective of a single woman in her early thirties who knows how the world works (even if she is a little proud or cynical), whereas the wisdom imparted in A, T & PS is the 'wisdom' of 15-year-olds who think they know how the world works, except of course when they're obsessing over not knowing how the world works. Therein lies most of the comedy.

What I liked:
  • This was an accurate (albeit scary) flashback into the mind and life of the inexperienced 15-year-old high school girl. They have a lot of plans, based on theories, that never quite pan out the right way. And total embarrassment is always looming just inches away...daring you to try to be cooler than you are.
    The total sex god (read: guy she likes) is truly wow. When I first saw him I was a bit 'meh', but then he started talking and later we see him play bass in his band, and then I was wistfully wishing I was fifteen again and could legally drool over him. His brother is hotter, but less attractive. Coolness is so much more than looking pretty. ^_^
  • Her Emma-style comeupance (see below).

What I didn't like:

  • Her Emma-style comeupance came too late in the piece and the prerequisite Sixteen Candles happy ending followed it too conveniently and soon. It felt like it just got real and deeper...and then it was gone. Don't get me wrong, I expected (and wanted) the happy ending, but the timing (whether of the writer or the movie editor) wasn't perfect.
  • The over-direction. What I found was the dramatic parts of the movie were lovely, and very naturally acted, whereas the comedy sometimes felt contrived or manufactured, which I attribute to the too heavy hand of the director trying to make it funnier and instead stifling it. This is where the film compared least favourably with Bend it Like Beckham, because the comedy in that movie came right out of real life and real cross-cultural/dysfunctional family mayhem, and never felt contrived. Ditto for Bridget Jones' Diary, where even the ridiculous seemed entirely plausible.
Still, there were moments in this movie that were perfectly done. The scene where she's learning about snogging (from a guy whose hair is just awful) had us convulsing in our seats and every scene where Georgia and Robbie speak alone is wonderful. I came out of the theatre having one of those 'if only I could go back to high school knowing what I know now' daydreams. So many cool things to relive and so many mistakes I could now avoid. I also feel like I would know exactly how to handle that bitchy girl. You know the one.

Big plug for the band from the movie, the Stiff Dylans:

Extra song for fans: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj15INiHT5o

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging: Save it for DVD and a night when you feel like a bit of silliness. 3 stars (and maybe an extra half a star for the British accents and slang).

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