Starter For Ten

three stars out of fiveA sweet, slight story that’s mostly nicely acted (overlooking Mr McAvoy’s occasionally wandering accent when he gets excited). Even Catherine Tate doesn’t get to gurn and overact too much in this one, which has to be a good thing.

The central character (McAvoy) heads off to university and the sense of the culture shock that he feels is well handled in the film – although not by him! He encounters the difference between lust, love and friendship – and this side of the story is a bit too predictable, frankly. In an attempt to honour his dead father’s memory he joins the University Challenge team, leading to the crisis that is the pivotal point of the film.

The scenes that were meant to be Westcliff-on-Sea near Southend so very clearly weren’t that I almost ended up more interested in where the film was shot (Jaywick – also in Essex – if you’re interested) than the plot.

This is a sweet, if insubstantial, film of the kind that the British film industry has been making for far too long.

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