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movie review: angus, thongs & perfect snogging 
1st-Aug-2008 06:45 pm
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ANGUS, THONGS AND PERFECT SNOGGING
DIRECTOR: GURINDER CHADHA

I am not usually a Cinema Person. The big screen hurts my eyes, and I often eat too much popcorn and end up feeling sick within about 5 minutes of the film starting. For this reason I tend to limit myself to seeing only the films that, for one reason or another, I am dying to see. My most hotly-anticipated film of the year was this one – ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’, an adaptation of Louise Rennison’s hilariously bonkers, ‘Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging’ and ‘It’s Okay, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers’, the first two books in a series of 9 (so far), that were practically my bibles whilst growing up. But now, it seems even the film I have been waiting for for the majority of my teenage years has let me down. And I am pissed.

I am not entirely sure where to start with this one. Whilst I knew that I, a reader of Louise Rennison’s novels since I was 13, was never going to be totally satisfied with the outcome of this movie, I didn’t in a million years think it would miss the mark as completely as it did. The deviation from the original story, from one full of wit and imagination, turned into a typical, run-of-the-mill love story between two teenagers, making the movie nothing more than a pile of slush (And not even good slush). Similarly, I couldn’t believe how many of the eccentric and frankly hilarious characters had been omitted, such as Uncle Eddie, Herr Kamyer, Mark Big Gob, and Sven (who apparently was in it, but for such a miniscule amount of time that you’d literally probably miss him if you blinked). Other characters who were included, such as Slim and Miss Stamp, were not given anywhere near enough screen time, only appearing for momentary glimpses as a brief acknowledgement of their characters’ existence. Not even Karen Taylor and Alan Davies, as Georgia’s “embarrassing” parents (who were actually quite nice in the film, and not embarrassing at all) could save this movie, although this was not the fault of the actors, who did the best they could with the appallingly flat, cringeworthy script they had to work with.

Georgia Groome, in the lead role, was well cast, and managed to pull off the role quite effectively throughout, but for a character that viewers are supposed to sympathise with, she did start to grate on my nerves after a while. Perhaps it was just too awkward to be seeing her world without the intimacy of the “diary” format that Rennison’s books are written in (though this has been achieved beautifully in the past, with books such as “Bridget Jones’ Diary”, for example).

Even if I were to consider this as a film in its own right, I would still call it wholly unremarkable, both plot-wise and acting-wise. Younger children and teenagers will enjoy it, as it packs enough cheap laughs, but if you’re looking for a well-done interpretation of Rennison’s much-loved classic (especially if you’re an older, more cynical fan, like me), I’d advise you stay with your imagination.
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