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Driving Lessons


Stars: Julie Walters, Laura Linney, Rupert Grint, Michelle Duncan

Director: Jeremy Brock

Although loosely based on the director's own experiences working for Dame Peggy Ashcroft, this hard-cursing comedy comes across as very artificial. The characters are too larger-than-life all round.

Was there ever a mother as cloying as Laura (Linney), faithless wife of a clergyman (Nicholas Farrell), who asks her 17-year-old son Ben (Grint, Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter films) 'How's my big, grown-up boy?', just before he spectacularly fails his driving test?

Fortunately, working for 'retired' actress Dame Evie Walton (Walters) soon educates Ben in the ways of the world. Defying his mother by driving the old harridan up to Edinburgh for a poetry recital, Ben is instantly bedded by cute PR Michelle Duncan and returns a new man.

Grint gets the chance to add a few four-letter words to his CV, and does have a beguiling grin; his acting, though, is pretty iffy. Linney and Walters both go way over the top in what could have been a charming rites-of-passage film, but ends up all too unbelievable.

David Quinlan

UK 2006. UK Distributor: Tartan. Colour.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 04 Sep 2006