Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary with Gurinder and the Ace Gang Girls; Angus Video Diaries; 9 Deleted Scenes; Bloopers; Gallery; Stiff Dylans Music Video, Ultraviolet.
GURINDER (Bend It Like Beckham) Chadha’s big screen adaptation of Louise Rennison’s popular novels was originally conceived as a British take on American high school comedies such as Clueless and Mean Girls. Along the way, it changed into something more akin to Sixteen Candles – and therein lies its faults.
Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging is a staggeringly sweet experience that’s populated by uneven characters. On the one hand, they’re capable of some truly bratty, precocious acts; while on the other they seem to conform to a set of standards and rules that belong in a bygone era.
The film follows the trials and tribulations of 14-year-old Georgia Nicolson (played by London To Brighton‘s Georgia Groome) as she hangs out with her best friends, The Ace Gang, and plots to win handsome school newcomer Robbie (Aaron Johnson).
Complications ensue, however, when her dad (Alan Davies) has to move to the other side of the world for his work and it looks as though mum (Karen Taylor) is about to embark on an affair with the resident decorator (T4 presenter Steve Jones), as well as her own capacity for Bridget Jones-style gaffes.
For the most of its running time, Chadha’s film borders on the tedious. It’s designed to appeal to young teenage girls but displays an astonishing naivety and innocence at times that means it may well bypass their sensibilities.
The girls, in particular, are more annoying than sweet, particularly in the way that they seem to feel the world revolves around them (if ever I’d spoken to my parents the way Georgia Nicolson frequently does, I’d have known about it!). But the boys fare only slightly better and are all way too nice to really feel realistic.
Performance-wise, Georgia Groome at least builds on the excellent work she did in London To Brighton to suggest a bright future lies ahead, while the likes of Eleanor Tomlinson, Manjeeven Grewal and Kimberley Nixon also impress.
But the teenage guys don’t really have anything decent to work with, while the adults – and especially Alan Davies and Steve Jones – emerge as hopelessly one dimensional stereotypes.
Chadha, for her part, attempts to enliven proceedings with some Bridget Jones-inspired embarrassments for its main characters, as well as a snappy contemporary soundtrack, but her film lacks any real edge and isn’t always clear who it’s catering for in terms of content.
The fact that it replaced the “full frontal” from its original title with “perfect” speaks volumes for the risks it refuses to take throughout. The end result is as far from perfect as you could possibly get.
Running time: 105mins
UK DVD Release: December 8, 2008
- Buy it (Amazon)
- Read our review of the film
- Steve Jones DVD interview
- Georgia Groome and Aaron Johnson interviewed
- Gurinder Chadha interviewed
- Eleanor Tomlinson, Georgia Henshaw and Manjeeven Grewal interviewed
- Sean Bourke, Liam Hess and Tommy Bastow interviewed
- Karen Taylor interviewed
- Soundtrack reviewed
- Buy the soundtrack (Amazon)