Mad Cows

An adaptation of a novel by Kathy Lette: Maddy (Friel) is a spunky young Australian determined to make caddish English toff Alex (Wise) acknowledge her and their baby son Jack. Unfortunately, the evil British class system is against her and she soon finds herself in prison, where a batty psycho-therapist (Massey) tricks her into signing adoption papers. And when her only ally, posh totty Gillian (Lumley), agrees to look after Jack, even she turns traitor. Friel is a vital if spindly presence, and Lumley is riveting, exposing desperation beneath the immaculate whore's facade. Gillian doesn't invite easy pity, but shocks us into realising how futile self-awareness is in keeping loneliness at bay. As a result, her transformation into a baby-loving housewife makes a perverse, tender kind of sense. So what's the problem? Lette's one-liners, when spoken, reduce her characters to Tourette victims; they ejaculate punchlines even when no one's around, destroying any sense of naturalism. Newcomer Sugarman directs with her finger on the FF button, but to no avail. All her attempts to hurry time merely make you aware of how much is being wasted.

Release details

Duration: 91 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sara Sugarman
Screenwriter: Sasha Hails, Sara Sugarman
Cast: Anna Friel
Joanna Lumley
Anna Massey
Phyllida Law
Greg Wise
John Standing
Nicholas Woodeson
Judy Cornwell
Prunella Scales
Geoffrey Robertson QC
Mohamed Al-Fayed
Jodie Kidd
Sophie Dahl
Kathy Lette
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