Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

I remember wanting to go to see this at the cinema, but never quite got round to it.  We got the DVD cheap recently and watched it last night; I didn't think it reached anywhere near its full potential, but it was an enjoyable enough romantic comedy.

The eponymous Miss Pettigrew is played by Frances McDormand, and starts the movie being kicked out of a job - yet again - and finds herself on the streets.  After a last-gasp effort to convince her agency that she can change her ways and become a reliable governess fails, she resorts to subterfuge and takes a job intended for someone else.  However the job socialite Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams) has in mind is not quite in her usual line of work...

Delysia can sing a bit, act a bit, attends lingerie fashion shows and shuffles three boyfriends to achieve what she wants from life.  Even though Amy Adams is an extremely talented actress and extraordinarily beautiful, I found her character here to be simply too annoying and conniving to ever come close to liking - although she still managed to be funny from time to time.  Her string of suitors include slimy nightclub owner Nick Cordorelli (Mark Strong), Theatre Producer wannabe (and more crucially, son of a wealthy established Theatre Producer) Phil Golman (Tom Payne), and piano player Michael Pardue (Lee Pace).  She also gets introduced to fashion queen wannabe Edythe DuBarry (Shirley Henderson) and her fiance, Lingerie Designer Joe Bloomfield (Cairan Hinds).


There are no surprises here - really, no surprises - every time you meet a character for the first time, you know exactly what sort of person they'll turn out to be and what part they'll play in the story - and despite attempts at pathos (the movie is set in the thirties with war threatening to break out), it opts for happy endings all round and convenient plot devices to show that the bad people really didn't deserve good things happening to them, of course with the exception of Delysia who were are supposed to root for despite a complete lack of any real redeeming qualities.  Most characters are rather unlikeable, either very scheming or simply stupid.  Even the eponymous heroine of the piece isn't really a very appealing person, though compared to some of the others she's practically a saint.
Despite its obvious drawbacks however, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is quite fun and does have some definite plus points - most of the acting was good, it's nicely filmed, it's funny on a fairly frequent basis and has a great thirties jazz soundtrack.  It's not a great movie by any means but its worth watching; I wouldn't pay more than a fiver for it at most, but for two or three quid it'll give you an enjoyable hour and a half of entertainment.  (For those who like such things there are a few bonus features on the DVD - the deleted scenes weren't much cop, they were the only bits I bothered looking at.)




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