FINDING YOUR FEET

★★

THE COMEDY THAT'S NOT A COMEDY

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
15th February 2018

There’s nothing quite like a good British film. If it’s history-based, it's filled with pride. If it’s a work of fiction, you’re overwhelmed with its regalness. If it’s an independent, it’s humbleness. And if it’s a comedy, it’s infectious dry wit that leaves you in stitches. I love it all... and then there’s the kingdom’s latest offering ‘Finding Your Feet’ - a tonal mess that left me with a dry, unused tissue in my hand and my sides completely intact. What gives?

Sandra (Imelda Staunton, ‘Pride’) is the dutiful socialite wife of Mike (John Sessions, 'Loving Vincent', 'Mr Holmes') who is about to retire, much to Sandra’s joy, who's eager for them to commence their new life together. Unfortunately it’s at Mike’s retirement party that Sandra discovers he’s been having an affair with her best friend. Exiled, Sandra turns to her long estranged, bohemian sister Elizabeth “Bif” (Celia Imrie, 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', TV's 'Better Things') for solace and a place to crash. Reluctantly integrating herself into Bif’s life Sandra joins her sister’s dance class along with friends Charlie (Timothy Spall, 'Mr Turner', ‘The Party’), Jackie (Joanna Lumley, ‘Paddington 2’, 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie') and Ted (David Hayman, ‘Viceroy’s House’). What started as a desperate act by a desperate woman to seek refuge after the demise of her marriage turns into a life Sandra never knew she missed or wanted filled with new friends, new joys and a long-lost sister.

SWITCH: 'FINDING YOUR FEET' TRAILER

There I was, settled in with tissues and a thirst for laughs. What I was met with was a cast of characters that were either dead, dying, or had their lives upended by death or dying - and in one lone case, adultery. From the get-go, we’re off to a bad and deeply depressing start. Unfortunately it wasn’t all uphill from there.

Laughs aren’t easy to come by when snobbery, dementia, cancer, adultery and death are put on the table. They’re practically nonexistent here. Okay then, let’s turn our attention to the emotional side of things - if I can’t have a good laugh, then I’ll have a good cry. Nope. All the emotional stops along our journey are either too quick, too obvious, or too superficial.

Laughs aren’t easy to come by when snobbery, dementia, cancer, adultery and death are put on the table.

With such a stellar British cast, especially in the comedy department, the blame here falls on the writers and their parochial screenplay. First timer Meg Leonard along with Nick Moorcroft (‘St Trinians’) just couldn’t find the magic on the page, and therefore it couldn’t come through on the screen. For a film about ageing, two writers barely 40-years-old was not the way to go.

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