Eye For Film >> Movies >> The One And Only (2002) Film Review
The One And Only
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
A romantic comedy from the home of The Magpies?
Why not? What does the North East of England have that the West coast of California doesn't, other than weather and brown ale? The answer isn't Sting, Mike Figgis and Alan Shearer; it's the Angel Of The North. Cue multiple scenes under Anthony Gormley's half-man-half-aeroplane that stands not quite like Christ over Rio, surveying the traffic on the A1.
Simon Cellan Jones's film, cleverly written by Susanne Bier, is a love story about a man who fits kitchens and the wife of an Italian footballer. Stevie (Justine Waddell) is the smart one, while Neil (Richard Roxburgh) is a typical girl's blouse, Geordie style. She's married to The Magpies' star player, who is off games with a groin strain, not that it makes any difference when it comes to the blonde in the beauty salon. He's married to a bossy, emotionally demanding testicle crusher, who talks over him and is desperate for a baby.
Stevie wants a child, too, or rather the big sentimental bambino she married does. After moving into their spanking new mansion on the edge of town, the next thing is to fill it with... something to sit on? The patter of little feet? A kitchen?
Neil adopts a six-year-old girl from Africa (Angel Thomas), with an unpronounceable name, who can't speak a word of anything. His wife is fluttery with excitement, before going round the corner for a bottle of milk and not coming back.
Stan (Michael Hodgson) is Neil's mate, who drives the van. Stella (Patsy Kensit) is Stevie's mate, who likes dirty sex with scruffy guys who smoke fags and drink lager. This is a film that says, "Love is a mental illness." It's about as far from Sleepless In Seattle as a sane man can reach.
Waddell has a touch of the Anna Friels about her. She's a woman with a brain, not a bimbo with dialogue. Roxburgh transforms himself into a slow, loyal, decent Northerner, which is some feat for an Aussie actor. Jonathan Cake's Mediterranean stud is hilarious, as is Hodgson's hungover slob.
Love is luck. It creeps up when you're not looking. If the chemistry's right, trust physics. Ask Stella. She's in a broom cupboard with Stan right this minute and they're not looking for furniture polish.Reviewed on: 20 Feb 2003