Eye For Film >> Movies >> Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence (1998) Film Review
Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Santa Barbara may be riddled with romantics, selling up and buying one-way tickets to London. It seems unlikely, but then so does Cool Britannia. Martha (Monica Potter) is on the run from the secretarial section of the shrewrace. She's looking for the end of a rainbow. Daniel (Tom Hollander) is a record industry high flyer, which means he ponces about in coloured clothes and spends money like champagne. They bump into each other at the airport and he's smitten. Result: expensive gifts, unctuous chat-up lines and little boy charm. Frank (Rufus Sewell) is a cynical, stage-frightened actor and Laurence (Joseph Fiennes) a shy, sensitive artist.
By a not unexpected twist of fate, they happen to be Daniel's best friends. They do lunch and talk about the girl. Afterwards, Frank meets her and falls for her and she meets Laurence and falls for him (sigh!). If Daniel wasn't such a damp dandelion, you might feel sorry for him.
The only way a film like this can work is if Peter Morgan's script dazzles and Potter takes lessons from Julia Roberts. The boys have laddish qualities that disguise their ignorance of women and Martha is both dull and naive. The comedy rests. In fact, it goes to sleep.
Potter doesn't have the personality to drag Martha into the light and Hollander is a pixie with a blond mop of curls. Sewell continues his run of designer stubbled depressives and Fiennes looks baffled, as if asked to describe his feelings for brother Ralph. Morgan's ideas scrambled when thinking of the title. If truth be told, they stayed scrambled.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001