Saturday, 22 March 2014

"Svengali" (The Guardian 21/03/14)

Svengali **
Dir: John Hardwick. With: Jonny Owen, Martin Freeman, Vicky McClure. 93 mins. Cert: 15

This music-biz romp – concerning a Welsh chancer’s attempts to push Libertines-like ladrockers The Premature Congratulations around Soho – hopes bushy-tailed enthusiasm can usher us past a shortfall of actual jokes, and displays an abiding cluelessness about developing its source (writer-star Jonny Owen’s well-regarded web series) beyond middling sitcom territory. Cameos from TV faces and a summery visual sheen provide further distractions from the script’s fundamental issues of cred: you just don’t believe Owen’s hapless protagonist would get as far as he does. Hard to dislike entirely, but that initial pep wears off – and it’s sad that any project should now be wasting Vicky McClure in the tagalong girlfriend role.

Svengali is now playing in selected cinemas.

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