A brief tour through the stock-room of British film comedy: seaside town out of season; mollycoddled son; overbearing neurotic mother; hopeless ventriloquist with drinking problem; faded femme fatale with drinking problem. Writer/director Austin's caricatures go through the motions of an Oedipal murder plot in perfunctory fashion; he seems to aspire to the satirical bite of Mike Leigh, but never achieves the accuracy, let alone the truth. Grant, struggling against being upstaged by a 1964 Beatles wig, employs his usual nose-wrinkling, eye popping mannerisms, but is unable to master the nasal tones of Harlow New Town. Elliott, object of Grant's murder mission, is wonderfully seedy. Walters brings much-needed warmth to her gin-sodden vamp: convincing, funny and sad. But Austin generally prefers to observe his characters as if they were insects under a stone: comedy needs a little more compassion. Southend looks suitably authentic and shabby, but the film is not located in real time at all, only somewhere between Brighton Rock and The Punch and Judy Man.