Just because a film is based on a newspaper comic strip does it have to feel like a crass pantomime? If you happen to be usually dependable British director Stephen Frears, apparently so. His relentlessly jaunty adaptation of Posy Simmonds’ Guardian offering Tamara Drewe is like a Carry On … version of The Archers, where obnoxious characters scramble through the leafy lanes of rural England behaving in ways that defy logic or edification.
Tamara Drewe is (allegedly and lazily) a modern-day reworking of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd. Gemma Arterton’s Tamara returns to the sleepy Dorset village of her childhood with old scores to settle. Now a successful journalist with a striking nose job, she is the ugly duckling who has been transformed into a vengeance-seeking swan. Men drop at her feet, including former boyfriend Andy (Luke Evans), smug thriller writer Nicholas (Roger Allam) and rock god Ben (Dominic Cooper).
There are certainly plenty of comic possibilities here but everything feels so exaggerated that there is no emotional involvement in the arbitrary events that transpire. Only recommended if you are starting to miss Last of the Summer Wine.
General release, Fri 10 Sep.