Having co-directed The Office and Extras, it was only a matter of time before Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant brought their combined talents to the big screen. The result, however, may surprise. Cemetery Junction is largely free of the excruciating irony that has dominated their TV work. Rather, this story of three friends living in suburban England in the 1970s is a tender, touching tale that’s unashamedly feelgood.
Romance drives the plot – as the handsome Freddie (Christian Cooke) falls for old school friend Julie (Felicity Jones), daughter of his boss (Ralph Fiennes) at the insurance company where he works. But there are also lashings of teenage angst, as our hero and his friends, the wild card Bruce (Tom Hughes), and the geeky Snork (Jack Doolan), try to navigate that difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood.
While Gervais’ comic turn as Freddie’s racist father acutely recalls a rather unfortunate aspect of 1970s values, the soundtrack glistens with nostalgia for the decade, using everything from Elton John’s ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ to Led Zeppelin’s epic ‘The Rain Song’, which brilliantly accompanies the finale. Executed with real feeling, Cemetery Junction shows Gervais and Merchant’s comedy is as much about heart as it is humiliation.
General release from Wed 14 Apr.