It's taken two years for Coky Giedroyc's follow-up to Stella Does Tricks to reach our cinema screens, but don't let that stop you catching this enjoyable homegrown comedy. The decision to cast English rose Helena Bonham Carter as a Scottish single mum might raise a few eyebrows - - especially considering her wobbly Borders accent - - but if you're experiencing post-Bridget Jones withdrawal, this light-hearted tale is just what the doctor ordered.
Compared to Stella, the gritty story of a teenage hooker who takes her own life, Giedroyc's new film is a laugh riot, although Dee Taylor's script (based on Isla Dewar's novel) is not without its darker elements. For while the film begins with the bracing image of Bonham Carter and Gina McKee discussing masturbation, the ensuing story centres on an act of betrayal that proves to be no laughing matter.
The man at the centre of all this is James Purefoy's Daniel, a feckless love rat. Purefoy is often the best thing in mediocre British movies (The Wedding Tackle, Maybe Baby), and so it proves here as he seduces first Ellen, then Cora with the same cheesy chat-up line. (Downing their drinks, he slays them both with: ""If I waited for you to finish, there'd be no time to buy you another".")
Further Bridget Jones parallels emerge with the quirky band of oddballs surrounding the central trio, who include a batty old widow (Eileen Atkins) and two bickering queens (Kenneth Cranham and Richard Wilson, the latter being one of the few genuine Scots to appear in this Edinburgh-set feature). But while these character actors offer sterling support, it's the central partnership that makes these women so appealing, coupled with a nice line in dry humour and a winning sense of the absurd.
Dodgy Scottish accents aside, this spirited story of sisters doing it for themselves boasts some eye-catching locations and gives Helena Bonham Carter another chance to escape her image. Acting honours, though, go to James Purefoy's serial seducer.
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