The Decoy Bride
- Hannah McGill
- 22 February 2012
Cheap and cheerful Scottish-set romcom gets by on charm of Kelly Macdonald and David Tennant
She’s Katie, a Hebridean lass back home on remote (and fictional) Hegg after the latest in a string of romantic disappointments. He’s James, successful novelist and befuddled bridegroom of Hollywood actor and household name Lara Tyler (Alice Eve), who’s holding her wedding on Hegg to evade the bloodthirsty paparazzi. Katie and James meet cute; she agrees to pose as Lara to throw the press off the scent. The ensuing shenanigans draw on genre staples Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary as well as classics like Local Hero, Whisky Galore! and It Happened One Night, as well as real-life phenomena like Madonna’s wedding in Sutherland and the Da Vinci Code tourism to Roslin.
The film’s gentle jabs at island ways are often amusing (‘It’s like the whale all over again!’ is one elderly resident’s excited response to the island’s celebrity coup), but its plot is muddy in places, with too many elements struggling for attention; and as lovely as the English actor Alice Eve is, her Lara lacks the impact required of the script’s eccentric, bubble-dwelling Hollywood harpy. Notting Hill worked because Julia Roberts actually is Julia Roberts; The Decoy Bride could have done with a similar injection of bona fide star power.
The film’s other Hollywood characters are also uncertainly drawn, so that the culture clash comedic possibilities of a bunch of sun-kissed, LA-lifestyle fascists descending on a windblown outpost are never fully exploited. It’s all on Tennant and Macdonald to make it work, and though they could have done with a few more zingy lines apiece, they manage the will-they-won’t-they bickering with plentiful verve.
Selected release from Fri 9 Mar