Tamara Drewe

Countryside Vixen


15 October 2010| No Comments on Tamara Drewe     by Sean Chavel


From Great Britain’s Stephen Frears, it is supposed to be endearing but in fact it is kind of slimy. Tamara Drewe is an ugly duckling who returns home to her small British village after she has turned into a smoking hot babe. As played by Gemma Arterton (“Quantam of Solace”), the once ignored and dumped on Tamara is now she the object of desire of many men. You don’t get as much Tamara as you would think, instead it’s about the guys around her that are affected by presence. We are meant to care about Tamara and who she falls in love on the outskirts, but this is another one of those stories where the goddess falls in love with an unkempt, greasy-haired, pierced-rings rock star (Dominic Cooper). This is entertainment that is less sumptuous then yucky, and yet the typical movie snob might impulsively eat this up by mistaking British smugness for British wit.

This should be a star vehicle, as said, for Arterton. But Tamara is rather a shallow character, though. The supposed depth is that she is this journalist who gleams of self-confidencene now that she has returned home to remodel and refurbish the family estate. Heads turn when she shows up in a red body tight halter top and short jeans. The women feel threatened and have a right to be. Among the leering gentlefolk, Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) is a middle-aged writer who has already carried an on-going affair with a young tart intern once, and his wife Beth (Tamsin Greig) can’t do much to improve on her dowdy looks. Obviously, Tamara could come between them.

The country farm boy Andy (Luke Evans) doesn’t amount to a hill of beans as a character (or does he at the end?), but he was the hotshot who slept with Tamara and then dumped her back when they were teens. When you see the flashbacks, Tamara’s nose was quite a honker – like Angelica Huston’s only more exaggerated – and even after plastic surgery she is still insecure about it. Poor, insecure Tamara Drewe… but don’t feel too bad about her since she’s got gusto. She snaps, “I wouldn’t sleep with you if you were the last man after a nuclear bomb.” She makes fun of guys who must have small shlongs. That’s the thing about fantasy girls. Once they open their dirty mouths, they no longer are as desirable.

Two adolescent girls who make mischievous trouble start an internet rumor about Tamara which is supposed to kick in the high gears in the third act. This wannabe classy comedy fare succumbs into a plot of misunderstandings and first kisses and rekindled love and relationship turnovers as if it were a game of musical chairs. The ending is poorly staged and unearned, more tacked on and obligatory – lips smack in an embrace and there you have it. Tamara is still hot after it is all over, as long as you only judge such a girl by her appearances. But next time give a girl like this more on her plate to start with. One is not so sure that she would be able to fill out a playmate data page of likes and dislikes since this Tamara doesn’t even seem to know enough about herself.

Frears is usually known for intelligence and good taste with such films as “The Queen,” “The Grifters” and “Dangerous Liaisons,” and he is adapting the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds. Here he tries to make comedy out of extreme contrasts: The beauty and the loud greasy rock star, the loud greasy rock and the quiet country people, the quiet country people and the infidelity scandals, and so on. Some scenes feel like long, big clumps.

111 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “The Seven Year Itch” (1955); “The Fabulous Baker Boys” (1989); “Pretty Woman” (1990); “Woman on Top” (2000).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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