Eye For Film >> Movies >> Lunch Ladies (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
The poster of Johnny Depp in Seretta and LouAnne's school kitchen has been kissed so many times that the star's mouth is missing. His voice isn't important anyway. The devoted twin sisters are confident that they know what he would do, even in extreme situations, and what he would think. They're sure that if he just once tastes their cooking then he'll make all their dreams come true by choosing them as his personal chefs.
When a competition win finally offers them the chance to meet their idol, they have to save up for their airfare. Unfortunately, this coincides with Principal Grossfetig (Chris Fickley) telling them that their cooking is so awful that they risk being fired. What can they do? It's hard to make anything edible out of the disgusting ingredients they're provided with. Well... what would Johnny Depp do?
Given the gleefully grotesque style of the film, it's not hard to guess where it's going, and there are no real surprises, but the simple story is quite adequate as a frame for Donna Pieroni and Mary Manofsky's spirited comic performances. Faced with all the indignities that school dinner ladies endure in real life from entitled teenagers and teaching staff who think they're superior, Seretta and LouAnne soldier on with admirable determination. No matter how shocking their behaviour may be, they're easy to root for, their strong sibling bond and worship of Depp giving them more optimism than many people ever have. Their practical make do and mend attitude is entirely consistent with their situation yet delightfully at odds with their dreaming.
The film takes a gentle swipe at a star whose reputation is not what it used to be. The teenagers don't even recognise him. But despite the black comedy there's no real mean-spiritedness here. There's a rare sense of respect for what it means to be a fan, and how much joy that can bring.
Anyone who ever ate school dinners will recognise what's on display, beautifully recreated in lurid hues with the volume turned up. The set design is fantastic and the teenagers superbly unpleasant, each coming across as a fully fledged character despite the fact that most have no lines. The pacing is strong and the result is great fun - as long as you have a strong stomach!Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2018
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