Thursday, 31 May 2018

Someone Else (2006)

Someone Else is a 2006 modern day London romcom from writer/director Col Spector. 

A few years back I caught another film of Spector's, Honeymooneron BBC2 late one night and enjoyed it, despite the Radio Times trashing it with a one star rating that I felt was deeply unfair. Spector's style owes a debt to Woody Allen, with London standing in for the controversial auteur's beloved New York, but I don't think that emulation - which could easily be seen as pretentious in itself - is what actually irritates his critics. I think they're more concerned with the fact that he depicts a certain type of selfish, middle class, trendy creative types in his films. These are characters who, in reality, aren't really likeable and who, as the critics seem to address, aren't really likeable on screen either. But that kind of misses the point and anyway, aren't Allen's characters more or less these kind of people too? Is it a case of the critics knowing too many London types to relate to Spector's protagonists, as opposed to the free pass they give Allen because they don't personally know the same kind of New Yorkers?

Certainly Stephen Mangan's central character of David here is meant to be a bit of a berk and the sort of selfish self pitying character he excels in, so the criticism doesn't really hold much water. I guess it just depends on how much you can stomach not entirely sympathetic leads. He's the kind of bloke who believes that, as the strapline says, 'the grass is always greener on the other side of the bed'. To that end, he throws over his lovely, sensible girlfriend Lisa (Susan Lynch) for a flighty, younger model called Nina (Lara Belmont), but soon finds cause to regret it when Nina reveals she wants nothing to do with him because she's now seeing someone else - a married man. The film then concerns itself with David attempting to get back into the dating scene, but realising his mistake with Lisa far too late. 

The dating scene sequences are quite wryly amusing actually as we see just how inept and out of his depth David now is. Plus, there's room to see his best mate Matt (Chris Coghill, who also starred in Honeymooner) try his luck with the ladies too. Matt, a seemingly eternal singleton who is socially awkward with girls, is a much more sympathetic character and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in seeing more of his story as opposed to David's. But then, I've always rather liked Coghill. 

Speaking of favourite actors, John Henshaw pops up in a small role here as a colleague of photographer David. Henshaw is the kind of old style Northern comic character actor who always raises a smile whenever he appears to the extent that I personally believe that any movie is instantly improved when there's a role for him. He needs to be in more movies.

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