Fanny And Elvis review

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Ever consoled yourself when blowing your last quid on a lottery ticket that it's okay, because some of the money will be going to a good cause? Well, sorry, but that's not always true. Lottery money is partially responsible for this sad sack of tosh.

On paper it sounds like a pretty good idea. Commission gritty TV-writer Kay Mellor to pen and direct a comedy which taps into the pre-millennial baby hysteria. Hire Ray '"I'll do anything for the lolly"' Winstone and Kerry `Shallow Grave To Shallow Film' Fox to star. Watch the box-office receipts roll in! But at no point does Mellor's writing reach Band Of Gold's edgy heights nor does she show any real aptitude for directing.

The biggest disappointment, given the scribe's impeccable track record for tough and feisty female characters, is the infuriating female lead. Fox's hapless Kate spends much of the movie flapping around in a shrill and hysterical manner and the rest being annoyingly superior and sanctimonious. It's difficult to care whether she locates a source of healthy sperm or not.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of the material (Kate goes into labour bang on the turn of the millennium), it's possible the project was rushed into production before it was ready. There's no doubt the screenplay needed some tightening. The few successful moments come mostly from Ben Daniels, as Kate's best friend and flatmate, who gets a smattering of campy one-liners. But quite why a struggling gay actor would choose to live in a North Yorkshire mining community is never explained.

During the second half, the pace really starts to flag, with repeated interruptions from teeth-grindingly awful fantasy sequences showing Kate flouncing across the Yorkshire moors in a Bonnie Langford wig. It's relentlessly trite stuff. Fanny And Elvis: not so much up the duff, more just duff.

Just a little too cynically contrived for comfort, Fanny And Elvis has "millennium cash-in" written all over it. But the main problem is a more basic failing for a rom-com: it's about as funny as ingrowing toenails.

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