Tamara Drewe

Film , Comedy
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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The dullness of British mainstream cinema is epitomised by this Stephen Frears – didn’t he used to be an auteur? – adaptation of  Posy Simmonds’s gently teasing 2005-2007 Guardian comic strip about rural goings-on. In the sense that you have soft porn, this is soft Brecht, a gentle, mildly amusing deconstruction of rural melodrama offering a self-amused wink at Hardy and Austen but being smiled back at by Mills and Boon.

Gemma Arterton’s tightly clad titular music journo returns to the country to inherit her family pile and set three lots of hearts and groins aflame: lecherous fiftysomething writer Nick (Roger Allam), teen-throb indie muso Ben (Dominic Cooper) and her childhood sweetheart, bare-torsoed handyman Andy (Luke Evans).

Much of the action takes place at Ewedown, the farm-turned-writers’ retreat run by Nick and his put-upon wife Beth (Tamsin Greig). Serial philanderer Nick flits to and fro, returning to host crime masterclasses to fawning admirers. All this is observed by Frears in the manner of an indulgent uncle, allowing his actors a soupçon of caricature, with detours around the charming environs to satisfy foreign audiences and homegrown admirers of ‘Midsomer Murders’ or ‘Location, Location, Location’.

The only characters who generate any interest are the terminally bored, all-seeing, sex and fanzine-obsessed teenagers (nicely played by Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie) who comment, sneer, scheme and plot from a disused nearby bus shelter, and Boss, Ben’s unruly boxer pup, who collared the tenth anniversary ‘Palm Dog’ at last year’s Cannes.

Release details

Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Luke Evans
Roger Allam
Tamsin Greig
Dominic Cooper
Gemma Arterton
Bill Camp