Bill Forsyth returns to the romantic comedy of Gregory's Girl. Twenty years after his teenage crush on a football-mad schoolgirl, Gregory is back at his old school, teaching English. When ...
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Bill Forsyth returns to the romantic comedy of Gregory's Girl. Twenty years after his teenage crush on a football-mad schoolgirl, Gregory is back at his old school, teaching English. When two of his pupils uncover evil practices at a local factory they want their teacher to help them expose the wrong-doer, who happens to be Greg's old schoolfriend. Trapped between his idealism and breaking the law while trying to choose between two girls - one a schoolgirl and the other a full-blooded woman - Gregory still has some growing up to do. Written by
Film 4 library
[in a meeting with the headmaster and the police, Greg is waffling about watching badgers to explain why he was seen with Frances in the park late at night]
So what were you doing last night?
Well last night was pretty exciting, actually, because Frances had more or less promised us... You see, the thing is, I've never actually seen Frances's beaver.
"Frances's beaver"! I mean Frances's badger.
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Deserves points for trying to be much more than an easy "cash-in" sequel but it doesn't work that well as a story
Gregory Underwood is a secondary school teacher in Scotland now but his relationships with women is no stable than before. Despite the very clear attention of colleague Bel, Gregory prefers to stay at home watching Chomsky tapes and worrying about the general state of the world. Unknown to anyone else he has a major crush on a girl in one of his classes football player Frances. Despite the risk, when she appears to come onto him he responds only to find that she just wants to talk to him about the fact that a local electronics company appears to be manufacturing torture equipment.
This film received bad reviews when it came out and I suspect many reviewers (like myself) just disliked the idea of a sequel to such a famous film after so many years had gone by. Of course opening the film with a sex scene between a teacher and a young pupil that is played for laughs was never going to be that good a move especially in a time when paedophilia is the number one topic for a tabloid witch hunt on any given day. And so I found myself at the start of a very strange film indeed, one that has a teacher/pupil relationship at the core and stuff about corporations and globalisation etc around the edges suffice to say that this is not just a retread of Gregory's Girl for the sake of making some extra money. However, why Forsyth chose to place this story within a sequel was a mystery to me because it does stand alone so much there appears to be no other reason to connect the two other than raising the money to make it.
The plot is a strange mix of issues and relationships and it is certainly never dull but this is not to say that it all works because it most certainly does not. It is a messy affair that starts off with the crush but gradually forgets it and instead wanders onto the issue of corporate social responsibility and globalisation but does it in a way that doesn't really ring true or allow for a clear message to be delivered. It is still interesting and I stayed with it for the couple of things that it was trying to do but even at my kindest I can't pretend that it worked out because it didn't. The plot doesn't flow that well and although it is interesting it doesn't stick in the mind as a good narrative or one that pulls anything in particular off.
The cast are OK and seem to get the light tone of the film even if they don't always seem to know where it is all going either. Sinclair plays his usual character well and manages to keep the audience onside (not as easy as it sounds in this film); however again, did we need him to be called "Gregory" or was it just to get funding? McKinnon is surprisingly assured and gives a very strong performance. Between the two of them they make their scenes work really well, with both of them coming from their different angles well. Support is so-so but not really any better than that Kennedy, Scott, Murtagh and others are very much secondary to requirements and their performances are a notch below the lead two. Forsyth's direction is good and he injects the film with a feel that is recognisable as him.
Overall though this is not a film to dislike for being an unnecessary sequel because, in fairness, it is actually a very brave attempt to do something different that unfortunately doesn't come off. The challenging relationship drama that could have been so impacting is gradually lost in a bigger story that never hangs together. Deserves points for trying but sadly it is just not that good a film.
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