15 – 96mins – 2014
About a Boy, Fever Pitch, High Fidelity… Usually guaranteed fail-safes at the box office, this recent adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel received far less praise and attention than we have come to expect from his usually high-profile works. This was particularly surprising given the calibre of its cast, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad or unworthy film, just one sadly lacking in courage.
Following the growing bond between four strangers (Pierce Brosnan, Toni Colette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul) who meet while attempting to throw themselves from a London rooftop on New Years Eve, this is billed as a dark comedy due to its sombre themes, however the film far too often takes an almost comfortable and amiable tone, at the expense of greater emotional gravitas.
Imogen Poots as cute and quirky Jess is an endearing stand-out, and if she had been the sole bringer of some off-kilter chuckles then the film would have been better balanced between observations on depression and irrationality, but it often feels like French director Pascal Chaumeil (in his first major English language gig) all too often plays it safe and doesn’t take these tragic people’s stories seriously enough – and who wants to go and see a lifeless comedy?