ChickLit review – mummy-porn shenanigans fail to arouse

There are one or two moments of amiably daft silliness here, but really this British comedy is ropey: dully and depressingly lit, hammily acted and clunkily scripted (except for one or two lines that I suspect are down to Miles Jupp who provided “additional material”). It is nowhere near TV standards. Yet film-maker Tony Britten has assembled quite a cast, including Eileen Atkins as a Peggy-Ramsay-style literary agent and John Hurt as her boozy, moustachioed colleague.

It is set in the picturesque Norfolk village of Holt, where the pub is in danger of going broke. To save it, a quartet of local worthies, including journalist David (Christian McKay) and bookseller Marcus (Jupp) set out to write a mummy porn bestseller – à la Fifty Shades of Grey – and then pass off David’s unemployed actress sister-in-law, Zoe (Dakota Blue Richards), as the glam author.

All the cultural references are weirdly strained and off-target. This film elaborately distinguishes “mummy porn” from “chicklit”, which makes the title a mystery and there seems to be no conception of Kindles, a very important part of the 50 Shades phenomenon. A page-one rewrite from Jupp might have been a different proposition.

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