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.