Starring: Emily Atack, Philip McGinley, Mark Stobbart
After a wild stag do, groom to be Kyle (McGinley) learns that he has contracted an STD after having sex with a prostitute, though he remembers very little about that night. After being advised he cannot have sex for three months, with the help of his best man Jarvis (Stobbart), Kyle must resist the advances of his fiancé Lydia without her learning the truth and somehow track down the prostitute he caught the disease from.
It doesn’t exactly sound like the latest from Richard Curtis does it? Well, though as many have said before, it is refreshing to have a British comedy that isn’t about irritatingly nice and well to do middle Englanders, Ben Cookson’s ‘comedy’ suffers from a basic problem: It is complete misguided unfunny rubbish. There is a place for crude humour, which I enjoy when written well, and Almost Married certainly has that in abundance, but it is never funny and is just happy to embrace misogynistic toilet humour and stereotypes. Comedy is notoriously difficult to get right, and I have the utmost respect for the best comedy performers and writers, but in Almost Married Cookson seems to think just being as crude as possible is enough to class as ‘comedy’.
Asking us to care for an adulterous protagonist is not such a big ask if he is a well written character with some redeeming features, but neither the male or female characters in Almost Married are likable in any way whatsoever. Not helped by the two dimensional performances and lack of chemistry between McGinley and Atack, spending time with these irritating characters is a tumultuous experience and any misery or problem they bring on themselves is thoroughly deserved. The supposedly ‘laddish’ conversations between Kyle and Jarvis are as boring as they are irritating; also showing in my view that Cookson really struggled to fill the 90 minutes due the lack of decent plot. Meanwhile the stereotypical character of Lydia is very much at the mercy of the misogynistic, narrow minded and severely ill judged script. I appreciate this film was made with a low budget, but even the film itself feels very amateurish and is very poorly put together.
As the boring story enters its final third, some painfully predictable twists, an overwritten ‘revelation’ scene and an abrupt ending show an attempt at drama, but by then it is really impossible to care. The British film industry needs all the funding it can get, but if films like Almost Married are an advert for supposed up and coming talent, then no potential producer is ever going to be willing to part with their cash.