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What We Did on Our Holiday


Stars: Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Amelia Bullmore, Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull, Ben Miller, Celia Imrie, Annette Crosbie

Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin

The guys behind the TV series Outnumbered have thought up a new (but by no means the same) three-children scenario, with a trio of the most natural child actors seen on screen. But this story only literally pays lip service to comedy; tragedy and disappointments in life are its bedrock.

Pike and Tennant play a pair of squabbling, separated parents taking their three kids, 10-year-old Lottie (Jones), seven-year-old Mickey (Smalldridge) and five-year-old Jessie (Turnbull) up to Scotland, for the 75th birthday celebration of Tennant's father (Connolly), who is dying from cancer.

All too soon, the shouting starts. 'You start discussing,' Mickey complains, 'then you argue, then the policeman comes.'

After an unscheduled overnight stop, they arrive at the mansion of Tennant's wealthy, self-inflated brother (Miller), who is a 'shorts seller' (naturally, the kids misconstrue that) and his flaky, on-the-edge wife (Bullmore), who have ostriches in the garden. And the chaos starts.

Connolly's wry banter with the children is one of the treasures of the film, and it's unfortunate that he disappears from the plot (if essential to the story) as he's the only adult holding his own against the ingenuous, perhaps improvised remarks of his brood of grandkids, while Pike and Tennant struggle with the exaggeration of their bickering.

The film tends to tail away thereafter, leading to a slightly too pat but heartwarming finale. If you liked Outnumbered, however, and I did, this slightly darker sideshoot is definitely for you. And there's nothing in it that justifies a 12A certificate.

David Quinlan

UK 2014. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Panalux.
95 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 26 Sep 2014