Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Indie romcom time: Martha meets the boys ...

MARTHA, MEET FRANK, DANIEL & LAURENCE (1998)  (with thanks to Colin for this one).
 Laurence recounts to his neighbour how his life long friendship with Frank and Daniel has been overturned in just three days by their each independently meeting, and falling for, Martha, who has no idea of their connection. Slowly the tale unfolds, the narrative moving backwards and forwards gradually filling in the gaps until we see the whole picture. Or, as the blurb says:
Meet Martha. She's single, sexy and sick of her life. With her last $99 she buys a plane ticket to London - one way! Meet Daniel. He's single, successful and thinks he's sexy. When he bumps into Martha at the airport in America, its love at first sight - well at least Daniel thinks so!  Meet Frank and Laurence, Daniel's best friends, although it doesn't always look that way. Frank is constantly engaged in a game of one-upmanship with Daniel, while Laurence always appears to be stuck in the middle. They have not met Martha yet but they will - and when they do you'll discover that two is company, three is a crowd and four is definitely a catastrophe!
Ok then, a clunky title for an amusing romcom - its a quirky, off the wall one where zany people do quirky, off the wall things like hop on a plane to London with their last $99, as you do - they would not be allowed into the UK with no money for a start! and Martha and Laurence would not be in the same queue at the airport either! 
And where you spend $5,000 to get a total stranger you just suddenly fall in love with, put in the first class next plane seat to you - though she is booked on a different flight! and set her up in a good hotel. (She at least sells the ticket on for $2,0000). But we must not carp about things like that. Its a quite sweet little comedy with all the comings and goings of the cast, as Laurence narrates his version to neighbour psychiatrist Ray Winstone (very subdued here). Its a nice look at London too back then, at the end of the nineties, before it became the crowded, expensive city it is now, as we take in nice hotel rooms and Laurence's ideal flat, and art galleries and restaurants. The various strands eventually come together as all three guys eventually confront Martha - though why these 3 smart London guys fall for this very ordinary American girl is never satisfactorily understandable. 

The three actors are caught nicely here early in their careers, all are still busy now. Fiennes (just before ELIZABETH and SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE)  seems the main guy, Hollander is a delight as usual and is pretty as a picture here, before his indie hits like LAWLESS HEART or BEDROOMS AND HALLWAYS - he was actually on television here last night, bulked up by two stone, to play Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in A POET IN NEW YORK, a new BBC drama (which I have yet to watch)  following his very successful REV comedy series (1998 would have been the year I saw him on stage as the petulant Bosie to Liam Neeson's Oscar Wilde in the first production of THE JUDAS KISS). Rufus scored as that very sharp Italian detective ZEN - well his suits were sharp at any rate! and he was in a recent production of Pinter's OLD TIMES - as well as that Dublin bus driver that Albert Finney fell for in A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE in 1994 (gay interest label). The unknown quantity here for me is Monica Potter, I do not know her at all - she has been busy too, recently with PARENTHOOD tv series. Scripted by Peter Morgan (THE QUEEN, FROST/NIXON etc) and directed by Nick Hamm.  Its a pleasing romcom and time capsule to those heady late '90s.  

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