Sunday, 30 November 2014

Afterthought hours: "Hello Carter"

There's some discrepancy between Hello Carter's opening titles - pulsating grime score, sweeping helicopter shots of London by night - and the film that follows them, which turns out to be a cosily blokish sitcom pilot with a handful of capable actors knocking around inside. Writer-director Anthony Wilcox is going for an After Hours vibe, breaking down a long night in the life of Charlie Cox's recently dumped and dispossessed Carter into a series of rather too convenient encounters: first, at an unsuccessful job interview, with secretary and somewhat inevitable love interest Jodie Whitaker (again markedly better than the script), then - in an utterly contrived sequence on the Tube - with American guest star Paul Schneider, who really needs to make amends with David Gordon Green and the Parks & Rec producers, if this is what's now coming his way. (For some reason, he winds up wearing somebody else's baby in a papoose, a sight gag established in 2003's Old School and subsequently worn thin through repetition in the Hangover movies and every other bargain-bin comedy.) The capital is effectively shown off - if nothing else, it'll provide at least a couple of good-looking clips for a Film London showreel - and Cox makes for a decent, Cusacky Everyman, but he's a patsy at the mercy of plotting that forces far too much makeshift material upon him. Wilcox even futzes the final reconnection with tricks and gimmicks.

Hello Carter opens in selected cinemas from Friday.

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