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Juliet, Naked


Stars: Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O'Dowd, Lily Brazier, Ayoola Smart, Enzo Cilenti, Pamela Lyne, Denise Gough, Phil Davis

Director: Jesse Peretz

Various novels by Nick Hornby, starting with Fever Pitch and including About a Boy and A Long Way Down, have been turned into successful films.

This time, despite the fact that it took three screenwriters to adapt his novel for the screen and also despite hard work by the cast, notably Byrne, who gives a memorable performance, the result is a romcom that very rarely rises above the level of an average made-for-television movie.

The show opens in an English seaside town (well played by Broadstairs) where Byrne is wedged in a long-term relationship with media-professor O'Dowd who is obsessed with s minor American singer-songwriter who vanished some 25 years previously.

Cue the sudden reappearance of the rocker, rockily played by Hawke. Then, catalysed by O'Dowd's infidelity, Byrne gets to meet Hawke after a lengthy online correspondence; he comes to London and...well, you can probably figure out how the rest of the story, complicated by Hawke's past and continuing rocky relationships as he tries to re-bond with his extended family, continues.

By and large the film, mildly directed by Perez, did little to grab my attention or impress itself on my memory. US filmgoers are treated to a decorative tsunami of London locations (the view from a London hospital window resembles a cliched tourist board publicity campaign) while youngsters who bother to see the film will at least learn where a catheter goes.

In effect, while not actually an all-out disaster, the best than can be said for the film is that, in the final analysis, it simply and forgettably adds up to the bland leading the bland.

Alan Frank

UK/USA 2018. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
97 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 18 Nov 2018