In a departure from form Ioan Gruffudd plays Harry, a modern Londoner heading for a premature middle-age crisis, which manifests itself when he buys a jaguar and has a one-night stand with a co-worker. Harry's wife Gina discovers his infidelity and rather abruptly ditches him and moves to Japan, leaving their son Pat in the dubious care of her hippy father. Harry looses his job as a TV producer and decides to retrieve Pat and throw himself into the role of the single parent. The interaction between Gruffudd and Dominic Howell is perfect and very believable, in contrast the relationship with his parents seemed rather forced. In an attempt to replicate the novel, Harry's thoughts are voiced by means of a wry and occasionally moving voiceover, which is both amusing and distracting. Regrettably, Ioan Gruffudd's natural Welsh intonation is replaced by a wavering London accent, which at times leaves him sounding a little flat. However a handful of chest shots should keep the majority of his fans happy. It was certainly a brave attempt to break the `Hornblower' mode, but it is difficult to see Ioan as a less noble and moral character. Additionally, he can't possibly be thirty! I found Gina deeply unsympathetic, the American waitress Syd, in a similar situation, was more favourable. The tone varied between poignant and hilarious, the character of the embittered lawyer was particularly entertaining. Apparently this novel is to be re-adapted for the US market. This is unfortunate, as the London setting seems intrinsic to the story, also although a US audience would appreciate the son's obsession with Star Wars, perhaps not with the same dry humour. Certainly the character of Marty, the obnoxious chat-show host will be familiar the world-over!
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