Sunday, August 22, 2010
Cemetery Junction **
Director: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Cast: Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan
Felicity Jones, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, Anne Reid
Ricky Gervais, Ralph Fiennes
It's often said that most comedians eventually want to venture into drama. If so, Ricky Gervais is staying true to that saying and along with The Office partner Stephen Merchant takes on the coming-of-age film intending to prove they aren't only good at making us laugh.
Although judging from this by-the-numbers drama, laughter might be the thing they're best at.
Set in 1970's England, the film follows the lives of three friends: the idealistic Freddie (Cooke) who wants to leave town and make something for himself, rebel factory-worker Bruce (Hughes) and the crass Snork (Doolan).
Freddie starts working as an insurance salesman for a ruthless self-made entrepreneur (Fiennes in top villainous form) and rekindles with an old flame (Jones) who happens to be the boss' daughter and is engaged to one of his co-workers (Goode).
He begins to realize there's more to life than he though at first and begins to stray from his friends who remain childlike in their world vision.
But the small town philosophy isn't limited to his friends, at home Freddie has to deal with his father (Gervais) who thinks his son feels superior to him because he wears a tie to work.
In a nutshell it's the story we've seen a million times; will Freddie leave this town or stay behind?
The film feels episodic and predictable and the characters are never fully realized so that we think of them as whole human beings.
There are some funny situations and the cast is nothing if not splendid! Watson is at her subdued best, Goode makes his good looks evoke the chilly carelessness his character needs and Reid is hilarious as Freddie's grandmother.
Yet the movie is as instantly forgettable as the experiences the characters are having should be unforgettable.