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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

Now, knowing what to expect general from a film of this type, I could be forgiven for going into it with some preconceptions that the film would be poor. At least in my opinion. I mean, target audience of eleven to sixteen year old girls, teen comedy, a 12A attempt at the gross-out comedy etc. This is the kind of film that normally screams disaster in my book. However, despite my personal preconceptions going into the film, I cannot say that I found the film a pleasant surprise, and dare I say enjoyable. Anyway, the whole point of the film is that Georgina is fourteen and is planning ahead to her birthday, and plans on making it the best ever. Her and her gang of friends also plan on catching the eye of some new students in their school while they are at it. Now, to start with what I found good about the film. For starters, I feel that this is a film that all the family can see, of which there are few good ones left in today's cinema. Personally, while adults and young boys may find it a problem watching the film, I think certainly young girls will enjoy the film, and rightfully so. The film is the ultimate fantasy for a girl in that age group, and creates a kind of magical aura in terms of the atmosphere in it. It is this hyper-reality version of a young girl's early teenage life which creates this feeling which is resonant throughout. Also, the script is well structured, for it has a tiered and layered, yet unlike many other films, manages not to get too tangled in its loose strands, always keeping focus and bringing it back to how they affect the film's protagonist. Yes, while it is about the gang of friends, there is one specific protagonist that is focused on, and the film-makers do this admirably with Georgina. They do not lose focus in the slightest in my opinion, and do everything right in that respect. Also, with a young girl being the central focus of the piece; it is generally necessary for the young actress to pull of the hard role of acting young while showing the maturity and smarts of realising the fact that this is a film. Georgia Groome I believe pulls off one of the best female performances of the year in what is a difficult role. The audience does feel genuine sympathy with her plight (in some ways) and you do genuinely want things to go her way. Her role onscreen does not look forced in the slightest and gives a naturalistic perspective to the character, which makes the audience believe she could exist as a teenager somewhere in the world. Now, while I could consistently sing the film's praises, considering its pleasant surprise after disappointment from Diary of the Dead, but the film certainly is by no means flawless. For starters, it is so nuts-and-bolts and predictable that the moment you look at the poster, you could jot down the plot on a beer coaster. It is a composite of predictability and cliché and therefore cannot be considered a consistently good piece of film-making. You would think that with all of the quality that there is in the film that they could at least be consistent and make a completely enjoyable film, instead of drawing out the odd, slightly depressing sigh of disappointment. Also, the film takes inspiration from films such as Sixteen Candles, and this proves to be just as predictable. However, not only does Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging manage to perfectly translate that film’s predictability, it also seemingly replicates that kind of eighties cheesiness that was prominent in virtually every one of that decades teen flicks. The cheesiness of this film, while prominent and clearly existing throughout the film, generally manages to remain under control and not really bothering in the slightest. However, there are some moments in the film which are genuinely cringe worthy in their cheesiness, the best example perhaps being in the scene in which Georgina and her prospective boyfriend do air guitar impressions on a boat on the beach. Finally, my last real problem with the film is that it does not try in the slightest to attempt to do something new and original with the genre. With a strong protagonist and plot, I believe that the film could have been lifted from the dregs of cheesiness completely if it tried to do something new. Instead, it is about as original an idea as having Steven Seagal star in a bad action movie. Oh, I forgot, as mentioned, the film is a hyper-realistic, almost fantastical version of teenage life. The way that teenagers, particularly males are portrayed in this film, exists as a real problem for me. No, not because boys are looked upon as immature or super-hot etc, but because of the teenager’s outlook on life and the way they view things. For example, it is not cool to like your parents, much less care about them. Also annoying is the fact that these girls are seemingly obsessed with the idea of becoming mature adults. They are only fourteen going on fifteen, yet they are dating guys two or three years older than themselves and booking nightclubs for their birthdays. This rarely, if ever, happens amongst teenagers. Not everyone sees themselves as having to mature at fourteen, never mind seventeen. I mean, his royal Dudeness, yours truly, still ain’t completely there. Right or wrong? Anyway, to stop slandering the film to death in those respects, for what it attempts to do, it does with great gusto. It is a well-plotted, well-acted, particularly from Groome, genuinely warm young teen comedy. I would recommend it to any young girl in that age group. I don’t know about their male counterparts, but I personally found it enjoyable to a good degree.

The Thin White Dude’s Prognosis – 6.5/10

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