An Olympics-themed drama that makes some of the right moves but never rises above its cash-in status
With Olympics-crazed punters firmly in its sights, Fast Girls is the undemanding directorial debut of New Zealander Regan Hall. Co-scripted by and starring Noel Clarke, it’s a British comedy drama focusing on the GB women’s sprint relay team as it prepares for 2011’s World Championships. Unfortunately, while these girls might move like greased lightening, the film that surrounds them is predominantly pedestrian. Devoid of anything daring, Fast Girls makes some of the right motions but never rises above its cash-in status.
Fast Girls stars Lenora Crichlow (TV’s Being Human) as Shania, a promising sprinter from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ who - after qualifying for the World Championship’s 200m - is drafted into the relay squad by coach Tommy (Clarke). Unsurprisingly, she’s not very good with teams. Romance comes in the shape of physiotherapist, Carl (a flaccid Bradley James) and rivalry in the form of spiteful rich girl Lisa (Lily James), the daughter of former Olympic champion David Temple (Rupert Graves). Mentorship and wisecracks are provided by Shania’s more athletically credible teammates Trix (Lorraine Burroughs) and Belle (Lashana Lynch).
It’s refreshing to see a mixed-race lead actress in a British production (although Crichlow flits between likeable and lacklustre) and, moreover, an ethnically diverse, largely female cast. Fast Girls also briefly touches on some of the harsh realities of the sport: the track closures, the need to ingratiate oneself to corporate sponsors, the injuries. However, the film frequently falls back on sports movie staples and other cinematic clichés. It bodges the romance, wastes the great Phil Davis (who appears as Shania’s original coach) and there are some decidedly half-hearted attempts at social realism. It may fleetingly excite but overall Fast Girls gives the impression of a film that’s merely biding time in anticipation of its emotional if utterly predictable climax.
General release from Fri 15 Jun.