9 May 2005 | bob the moo
Comic little piece that has very gentle digs at the election process but is no more than "nice"
Ah England, the home of democracy, as seen in its elections and by-elections. And so we move our focus to a small English town where the Labour and the Tory candidates are involved in a straight fight for the seat. Taking the train down, Tory and TV celebrity Robert Wilcot finds himself seated next to a pretty young woman and they hit it off quite nicely; it is only after getting off the train and being photographed carrying her bags that he learns that Stella is none other than the Socialist candidate. Thus begins the campaign but both candidates are a touch smitten by one another and they cannot bring themselves to really attack the other much to the chagrin of their respective campaign managers.
The last time I saw this film was on the day before polling day during the 2005 British election, shown I suppose to temper the constant coverage but it seemed to have little effect on my opinion of the film. Regardless of the real life context, this is nothing more that a rather slight romantic comedy that uses a by-election as a frame and, I must say, it doesn't use it as well as one would have hoped. The romance didn't convince me because the tow characters were not allowed much time to actually fall in love, so the script relies on a sudden, unconvincing infatuation to move the story along. The election campaign is delivered with a nice touch of humour while also making very gentle digs at the system, but it lacked a sharp edge that I hoped it would have liked. With neither of these strands doing anything that special, it does still manage to be amusing if not brilliant and it is entertaining in a rather British way of the period.
The cast are pretty good even if the material isn't totally there to make their lives easier. Carmichael is nicely comic while Bredin is OK but did give me the impression that she was a bit out of her depth with some of the people around her. The two don't have much chemistry and the film is a bit weak as a result. Sim has a small role but is quite funny and support from Barker and Wattis is pretty good. Nobody really stands out and nobody gives more than a workable performance which matches the material pretty well.
Overall this is a nice film but it doesn't ever really manage to do more than that. It is amusing but it lacks a satirical edge that would have improved the scenario and the main romance never convinces, thus preventing the audience really getting into the film. Amusing and "nice" but nothing more.