Solid performances from Lily James and Shazad Latif cannot rescue pedestrian rom-com What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Film review: What’s Love Got To Do With It? (12A) – seen at The Light Cinema, Wisbech
Starring: Lily James, Emma Thompson and Shazad Latif
Running time: 1hr 48 mins Director: Shekhar Kapur
After many weeks of trailers, I was delighted when this film was finally released to UK audiences.
Produced by British studio, Working Title Films, the posters proudly state its association with classics such as Bridget Jones’ Diary and Love Actually.
Add to that Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill and, more recently, Ticket To Paradise, and I was pretty sure my wife and I were in for a rom-com masterclass.
Sadly, my convictions were wrong. There was romance, but it was clumsy, predictable and almost tacked on at the end.
As for the comedy, there were three genuinely funny moments... but the first two had been so heavily plugged in the trailers that I was all out of laughter by the time they were given context.
The idea was decent enough. Documentary maker Zoe (Lily James) decides to make a film about arranged (now called assisted) Moslem marriages after her best friend and neighbour Kazim (Shazad Latif) announces his intentions to find a bride that way.
She charts his romantic journey from London to Lahore, while going through a series of failed romances herself.
I loved Lily James in Rebecca and The Dig, but even she can’t save this plodding plot. I couldn’t fault Latif either – both did their best. And what a waste of the great Emma Thompson’s talents, reducing her to playing Zoe’s over-the-top, loud, one dimensional mother Cath.
I think most rom-com fans knew how this would pan out but even the ending was arrived at in rather a rushed and clumsy manner.
In fact, the most moving part of the film involved the peripheral characters of Kazim’s sister Maymouna (Sajal Ali) and her husband Olly (Ben Ashenden) – but even their reconciliation with Kazim’s family after a religious disagreement was overblown.
Having said all that, my wife loved it, as did the couple sitting close by to us. But for me a rom-com needs touching romance and laughter – sadly,this had neither.
By Jeremy Ransome