Now showing at Beck Theatre Grange Road,Hayes,Middlesex UB3 2UE email@example.com 020 8561 8371
- The Rewrite
- What We Did On Our Holiday
The Rewrite 3 stars
Screenwriter Keith Michaels used to be the toast of Hollywood. In 1998, he won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Many years have passed and his marriage has collapsed and he is virtually penniless. So he reluctantly takes a job teaching a screenwriting course at Binghamton University in New York. Among his students is feisty single mother Holly Carpenter. They fall in love and the whirlwind romance compels Keith to rewrite his bleak future.
- GenreComedy, Romance
- CastHugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Allison Janney, JK Simmons, Aja Naomi King.
- DirectorMarc Lawrence.
- WriterMarc Lawrence.
- Duration107 mins
- Official site
Twenty years ago, Hugh Grant donned his crown as floppy-haired prince regent of the romantic comedy in Four Weddings And A Funeral, winning a Bafta and Golden Globe for his efforts. Notting Hill, About A Boy, Two Weeks Notice and Love Actually and a recurring role as a bounder in the Bridget Jones films have enforced his screen image as the bumbling bachelor, who inadvertently insults the girl but still wins her heart.
The Rewrite, which reunites Grant with director Marc Lawrence for the fourth time, won't alter that perception. Light, frothy and utterly forgettable, this flimsy tale of second-chance love and self-acceptance plays to the leading man's strengths, endearing us to his morally flawed character despite a propensity for the occasional fib and social faux pas.
Grant could deliver this performance in his sleep so it's fortunate that he is nuzzled by a solid supporting cast including the luminous Marisa Tomei as his potential love interest and the always glorious Allison Janney as a humourless Jane Austen scholar, who won't tolerate unethical behaviour among her faculty colleagues.
Fifteen years ago, screenwriter Keith Michaels (Grant) was the toast of Hollywood. His script for Paradise Misplaced scooped a Golden Globe and the film industry bowed down at his altar.
Unfortunately, successive scripts have flopped and Keith is fast approaching 50, his marriage has collapsed, he is estranged from his son Alex and struggling to pay the bills.
Thanks to his agent Ellen (Caroline Aaron), he lands a position as writer-in-residence at Binghamton University on the outskirts of New York, teaching a screenwriting course to 10 talented students. "It's impossible to know what anyone could teach here except, 'Get out!'" quips Keith in voiceover as he surveys his new home.
Fellow staff including Dr Harold Lerner (JK Simmons) and Professor Jim Harper (Chris Elliott) offer Keith a hearty welcome but Professor Mary Weldon (Janney) proves more difficult to win over. His young students including star-struck beauty Karen (Bella Heathcote), Star Wars obsessive Billy (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) and enviably talented nerd Clem (Steven Kaplan) hang on Keith's every stuttering word but it's mature sophomore Holly (Marisa Tomei) who catches his eye.
They spark a simmering attraction but Keith's insecurities threaten to derail the fledgling relationship.
The Rewrite is a gently effervescent confection that follows a predictable narrative arc and lightly tugs heartstrings as Grant's cynical scribe overcomes his disdain for the teaching profession.
Tomei radiates maternal loveliness in an underwritten role and as the only eligible female of a similar age to Keith, she's destined to fall for his dithering. Supporting cast scene-steal including Simmons as the proud family man and Desert Storm veteran, who wells up when he talks about his children. The script is peppered lightly with smart one-liners to ensure a lively tempo.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Tuesday 3rd February 2015
What We Did On Our Holiday 4 stars
Gordie McLeod is poised to celebrate his 75th birthday in the Scottish Highlands. His self-obsessed son Gavin is hosting the lavish party to impress the neighbours and hopefully secure the captaincy of the local golf club. As the party beckons, Gavin's less successful brother Doug and his wife Abi arrive with their three children in tow. The birthday celebrations are unexpectedly thrown into disarray and a media scrum descends on the family's doorstep.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
- CastDavid Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Amelia Bullmore, Ben Miller, Emilia Jones, Harriet Turnbull, Bobby Smalldridge.
- DirectorAndy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin.
- WriterAndy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin.
- Duration95 mins
- Official site
In 2007, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin abandoned the conventions of a tightly scripted sitcom and took a more fluid approach to mining laughs in the breakout hit Outnumbered. While the adult characters' lines were committed to the page, the young actors were allowed to improvise around suggestions from Hamilton and Jenkin, and consequently delivered natural performances, reacting instinctively to set-ups and punchlines.
The writer-directors adopt the same winning recipe for this uproarious feature film debut, an ill-fated family road trip laced with absurdity that touches the heart and tickles the funny bone.
Once again, it's the younger cast who scene-steal with aplomb, explaining why a bout of car sickness is a source of joy ("It's like being a fountain!") and succinctly distilling the anguish and betrayal of parental infidelity into a single throwaway line: "Dad had an affair with a Paralympic athlete with one foot."
That's not to say that Hamilton and Jenkin short-change the rest of the ensemble cast including David Tennant, Rosamund Pike and Glaswegian firebrand Billy Connolly. They snaffle a generous smattering of belly laughs too, like when Connolly's cantankerous grandfather tries to explain Hitler's seizure of land in terms a bairn might understand: "Like Monopoly, but with more screaming."
Gordie McLeod (Connolly) is poised to celebrate his 75th birthday in the Scottish Highlands. His self-obsessed son Gavin (Ben Miller) is hosting the lavish party to impress the neighbours and hopefully secure the captaincy of the local golf club.
Gavin's long-suffering and neurotic wife Margaret (Amelia Bullmore) remains in the background, occasionally exploding with pent-up rage. As the party beckons, Gavin's less successful brother Doug (David Tennant) and his wife Abi (Rosamund Pike) arrive with their three children in tow: 11-year-old Lottie (Emilia Jones), who scribbles repeatedly in her notebook so she can remember which lies she is supposed to tell; six-year-old Mickey (Bobby Smalldridge), who is obsessed with Vikings; and five-year-old Jess (Harriet Turnbull), whose best friends are two rocks christened Eric and Norman.
The birthday celebrations are unexpectedly thrown into disarray and a media scrum descends on the family's doorstep along with an interfering Social Services officer called Agnes (Celia Imrie), who casts doubt on Doug and Abi's ability to nurture their dysfunctional brood.
What We Did On Our Holiday is a rip-roaring riot, laying bare the petty jealousies and deep-rooted fears within a family while dealing with serious issues through the unblinkered eyes of the three children.
Tennant and Miller spark a fiery sibling rivalry with excellent support from Pike and Bullmore, the latter proving that it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for. Hamilton and Jenkin eschew cloying sentimentality in the film's tricky final third, striking a pleasing and ultimately winning balance between musing and amusing.