For Love Or Money


Reviewed by: Jane Fae

For Love Or Money
"After an opening that fans of the genre will recognise from time honoured tradition, it takes an abrupt turn to the left and...after that, nothing is the same."

For Love Or Money is different. At least, if you are looking for romcom, this is not. Is, in fact, the exact antithesis. Because yes, there is rom, and absolutely there is com. But after an opening that fans of the genre will recognise from time honoured tradition, it takes an abrupt turn to the left and...after that, nothing is the same.

It starts with a pre-teen Mark making a fool of himself, writing poetry for love – or infatuation? - of his life Connie. Fast forward to their adult selves, played respectively by Robert Kazinsky and Samantha Barks, and their paths cross once more. Connie blanks Mark who rather tactlessly has just attempted to hit on her at a funeral. But romance – of a kind - kindles as bad boy Johnny (Ed Speelers) lets on to Connie that Mark, the once-upon-a-time geek of the class, has made a fortune and is shortly to be worth in excess of £20 million.

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Mark falls hard. Wedding bells are in the air, until Mark learns, to his dismay, that Connie's intentions are anything but honourable: the bottom line is...the bottom line. And Connie's plan is pretty brutal: marry Mark, grab half his fortune, and depart with Johnny.

Since her deception is exposed early on, that leaves the rest of the film for Mark to decide how best to get his revenge and, to begin with, that is exactly where he goes, with the help of friend and flatmate Tim (Tony Way) and Kendra, once-upon-a-time best friend to Connie – until Connie shagged her fiancé.

That makes for an interesting set-up and there is much comedy – albeit the comedy of embarrassment, which is far from everyone's cup of tea – to Mark's subsequent humiliation of Connie. But is that really good enough? If all he does is humiliate Connie, how is he any better than she is?

After meeting the rest of Connie's family, including grotesque parents Patrick (Ivan Kaye) and Carol (Anna Chancellor), enlightenment – and sympathy – begin to creep in. But how can you resolve a situation which, at the end of the day, is based on mutual distrust.

After all, there are certain romantic arcs well-trod down the years. The mutual hatred, resolving into eventual like and love (from The Taming Of The Shrew onward); the misunderstanding, exposed and swept away in the final scene (Notting Hill); or the entanglement with the wrong partner (Bridget Jones and romcoms ad nauseam). The difficulty is that here, there are hints of all of the above but the single unavoidable obstacle to the eventual happiness of the unloving couple at the centre of this relationship is that they have destroyed any basis either might have for trusting the other.

How do you work back from that? Can you work back from that? Well, if you want to see whether it is possible to do so, you'll have to watch the film, which I would thoroughly recommend. This appears to be one of those movies that splits reviewers and viewing public. On various review boards, it appears to have done not too well, but read the reviews from ordinary members of the viewing public and it is a very different picture all round.

It is funny. Adjectives such as roisterous and even rollicking sprang to mind, as the comedy is two parts surreal to a large dash of bawdy. This is not romance, nor in any sense how romance (the romcom version) is meant to be done. Johnny's over-the-top villainy is magnificent. Ditto Tim, who from the moment he is introduced to us, stuffing his face with a take-away at that first funeral, makes a glorious foil to every simpering support actor usually cast into such movies.

There's more than a slight dig at Four Weddings And A Funeral. Yes: we start with a Funeral, end, in theory, with a wedding. But there the similarity ends, as David Hargreaves delivers perfectly the role of a vicar who is over the top and out of love with the church.

A film to cheer you up.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2019
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For Love Or Money packshot
A fairy tale romance takes an unexpected turn when Mark discovers his beautiful bride-to-be, Connie, has actually been plotting against him.

Director: Mark Murphy

Writer: Sabrina Lepage, Mark Murphy

Starring: Robert Kazinsky, Samantha Barks, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Ed Speleers

Year: 2019

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: UK


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