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Once the ugly duckling in the Dorset village of Ewedown, Tamara Drewe returns to sell her late mother's house, now a glamorous journalist with a life-changing nose job. She awakens feelings in sexy old flame, Andy, the decent odd job man at pretentious author Nicholas Hardiment's writers' school and in Nicholas himself, a serial philanderer who cheats on his loyal wife Beth. But Tamara has a new man in her life, Ben, an obnoxious rock drummer whose marriage proposal she accepts, to the dismay of local girl - and Ben's biggest fan - Jody. Jody's efforts to sabotage the engagement lead to Tamara, on the rebound and finding Andy in the arms of another, allowing Nicholas to have his wicked way with her, and also allowing it to be photographed and sent to a distraught Beth. Beth's secret admirer, American writer Glen, confronts Nicholas out in the fields, but Ben's dog Boss has got loose and has caused a local farmer's cattle to stampede towards them, an event which will shape the futures ... Written by
don @ minifie-1
British comedy is a strange creature. There are films that are satirical, such as In the Loop, satirical, like Four Lions, to intelligence and dialogue driven, Withnail and I, and films that aim for low key charm, Calendar Girls. Sometimes a film may try and made a number of these features, like the work of Edgar Wright. Based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, Tamara Drewe hits our screens, with Gemma Arterton's profile continuing to increase.
The village of Ewedown has become a writers retreat, a place for writers to relax, work and chew the fat. Crime novelist Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) and wife Beth (Tasmin Greig) run the place, with an American academic, Glen (Bill Camp (who sounds a lot like William Hurt)) struggling with his book on Thomas Hardy staying with them. In the village two schoolgirls, Jody (Jessica Barden) and Casey (Charlotte Christie) cause havoc and mayhem simply because they are bored. But the village is turned on its head when the attractive journalist Tamara Drewe (Arterton) returns home to sell her out house. She turns heads, including drummer Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), her old frame Andy (Luke Evans) and Nicholas.
Writer Moira Buffini and director Stephen Frears make a film with drama and wit, and some moments of out right laughs. Frears was able to inject some style, like when characters speaking when there are on the phone. The humour of the film relies on number of areas, witty comments and observation, physical violence and visual gags. The schoolgirls offer a lot of comedy because many people can empathies with their situation: rural England is not the most exciting place to grow up as a teenager. Their mischief making and thrills about a star in their village compensates Barden lack of confidence as an actress. It is refreshing to characters that do look their age. Frears and Buffini aim to a make a charming comedy, but with more swearing; so trying to have their cake and eat. The two should have tried to make gone one way or the other. Strangely for a film called Tamara Drewe, there are long periods where she is not on the screen or mentioned. There are plots involving Nicholas wayward eyes and the budding relationship between Glen and Beth: walking the fine line of drama and comedy. Tamara Drewe goes from being pretty serious and hits you with a sudden joke and vice versa: working with effect. Tamara Drewe is very British beast, but Glen the American does offer an outsider view and will allow a non-British audience a point-of-view, with few British swears and slang words being used. There are some issues affecting rural England, like rich city flock buying houses and making villages too expensive to live in and boredom for young people: but it is hardly a political piece.
Whilst some of pacing is a little slow and the film ends up sidetracking at moments, there are strong performances from most of the cast. Atherton shows why she is a raising star, giving Tamara a quick, biting wit. Allam effectively plays a very slimy writer who takes advantage of his wife and he seems to have a nack for playing dislikeable characters (his previous roles have been in V for Vendetta and Speed Racer). Cooper and Evans work well against each other as love rivals for Tamara, with Cooper really understands the part of a pretentious indie musician. Greig too gives a good performance and given her background as a comic actress, she her character is for the most part serious, with moments of witty comments.
Tamara Drewe is more a gently comedy with small jokes and drama and not a out right laugh fest as the promotion will want you to believe.
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