Popcorn

Popcorn

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

At last, a teen-com that isn’t a campus-com. And it’s British!

For movie buffs, the setting is perfect. For shy 15-year-old boys, who think they will never get lucky, ever, in their entire lives, let alone know what to do when kissing girls, treat Popcorn as an educational tool. For tips on how to give a compliment without sounding like a sleazeball, or a phony, take lessons from longhaired projectionist Zak (Luke De Woolfson), who bases his romantic philosophy on what they do in the movies, and his girlfriend Florence (Colette Brown), who is more pragmatic and functional.

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It begins with Danny (Jack Ryder), who has a passion for Japanese comics and Suki (Jodi Albert), one of the usherettes at his local multiplex, because she looks like his Manga heroine. He decides to apply for a job at the cinema to get close to her.

What he doesn’t realize is that the day he joins the staff is Suki’s last. Time, as they say, is of the essence, which means he has to get his skates on, but, being Danny, a product of Central Casting’s Nerd Dept, he hasn’t a clue how to begin. Enter man-of-the-reels Zak, who comes up with Plan C, the award winning How To Get The Girl, an easy-to-use mock up, based on movie techniques, gleaned from a constant diet of rom-coms.

There is a lot of sex going on, or rather talk of it, as if everyone between the ages of 17 and 24, which covers the entire cast, excluding Max (Andrew Dunn), the manager, thinks of nothing else. In this respect and others, such as the inventive use of graphics, chapter headings and cinematic tricks, the film resembles Human Traffic, although Ryder is no match for John Simm and the anarchic drugs-fuelled madness is missing.

It is never easy when your protagonist is virginal in mind and body. The humour comes from the other characters bouncing off him. Andrew Lee Potts, as Kris, the scamming assistant manager, is definitely the one to watch. He has a positive laddish style that never descends into boorish vulgarity and, as a performance, tops the league table, closely followed by De Woolfson, Brown and Albert, who brings genuine personality to the role of the love object.

Although the Hollywood equivalent might be Employee Of The Month, you can’t help thinking what a writer of Darren Fisher’s talent might have made of that one. Certainly, as a director, he would have been more daring and innovative.

Popcorn is low budget indy Brit cinema with its pants down, irreverent, flirty, fun and confident. It deserves the multiplex Audience Star of Approval.

Reviewed on: 01 Mar 2007
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Working in the multiplex is a lesson in How To Get The Girl.
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