The Decoy Bride (2011)

2015 #155
Sheree Folkson | 89 mins | streaming (HD) | 2.35:1 | UK / English | 12 / PG

This is not a well-reviewed film — Little White Lies described it as “possibly the worst thing ever in world history.”

Obviously they’re being intentionally hyperbolic (well, I hope), but it’s not merited. Okay, it’s a standard rom-com, of the form we’ve seen dozens of times, but it’s no worse than most and better than plenty. Kelly Macdonald and David Tennant are appealing leads with some chemistry, “TV director” Folkson’s work is cinematic enough, and there are decent laughs in the screenplay by Sally Phillips.

There’s nothing special about The Decoy Bride, but it’s pleasantly entertaining. It could be much worse.

3 out of 5

This drabble review is part of the 100 Films Advent Calendar 2015. Read more here.

Starter for Ten (2006)

2007 #99
Tom Vaughan | 92 mins | DVD | 12 / PG-13

Starter for TenA predictable British rom-com, enlivened only by a few good moments and performances, as well as the excellent ’80s soundtrack.

You’d assume the plot would focus on the characters’ aim to win University Challenge, coupled with a woefully predictable romantic subplot; sadly, it turns out the woefully predictable romance is the main plot and the quiz only turns up now and then to lend some structure. The final contest is almost entirely devoid of tension thanks to this and the other conclusions hold no surprises.

McAvoy is likeable, though held back by Brian’s near-unbearable ignorance about life. The best performances come from Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall, both actors worth watching.

2 out of 5

Starter for Ten is on BBC Two tonight, Sunday 31st August 2014, at 10:30pm.