Monday, 3 November 2014

What We Did On Our Holiday - Phil's Five Words for Films

What We Did On Our Holiday  Created by Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, this is essentially a big screen version of their BBC hit 'Outnumbered' (but in conjunction with the British Guild of Comedy Actors and the Scottish Tourist Board, maybe). Different parents, different children but the same, nicely observed comedic overtones. Starring  Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Ben Miller and Celia Imrie amongst others, it is a pleasant enough, good natured film that hits the modest targets that it sets itself. The story is centred around Doug (Tennant) and Abi ( Pike), who are in the throws of a separation. Together with their three kids, they travel to the Scottish Highlands for Doug's father's 75th birthday party. The father, Gordy ( Billy Connolly, in contemplative form ), has a terminal disease that he wants kept from his grand children. It seems everyone is trying to keep up appearances and secrets. Farcically, nobody manages. As with 'Outnumbered', the script seems to be there mainly for the adults, allowing the children to freely riff around certain topics - the source of most of the comedy. There is just enough laughter and pathos to make it an enjoyable watch, without drifting in to uncomfortable sentimentality. It feels more like 'big TV' than 'small film' but that doesn't mean that it can't be satisfying. The Scottish scenery and all those involved come out looking good and I would have happily watched more. A quintessentially British, pleasant and gentle comedy/drama that has some genuinely touching moments.

7 out of 10.
Cert 12A ( UK )
95mins. 2014

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