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Film Review / The Decoy Bride (2011)

I mean, David Tennant's in it, so why wouldn't I watch it?

The Decoy Bride's the kind of film you find just scrolling through your Firestick looking for other free things from good actors. Incidentally, I enjoy Kelly McDonald's work as well as Alice Eve, so there couldn't be much particularly wrong with it. In fact, I found it a pretty enjoyable film, if not obviosly flawed.

James and Lara (Tennant and Eve respectively) are a novelist and famous actress trying to get married in peace, but who have excessive papparazzi-stalking preventing their perfect day. So, the big plan by their publicists is to have the big day somewhere really secret, secluded and tourist-free. Enter Hegg, a remote Scottish Island in the Outer Hebrides, where few people live and nobody's heard of. Perfect.

The problem is Hegg is the place that James based his bestselling novel on, and having never visited has unfaithfully represented the entire island and its people. Yet, even here it seems one of the papp still finds them. Enter Katie, a local girl paid to be the decoy for Lara at the fake wedding to put the papp-guy off the scent. The problem is, she finds out who James is, and is just as unhappy at his terrible rendition of her home as he is finding out his wedding is fake and nobody told him.

All three leads are perfectly enjoyable in their roles, and Tennant and McDonald have great chemistry. I really enjoyed James's journey in comprehending just how hack his first novel was (and being told everyone on Hegg had read it and thought it was terrible), and David Tennant is of course eminently watchable. I really enjoy Kelly McDonald, and am surprised she hasn't become a more household name as she's done some really great work (one of my favourites was State of Play (2003) with John Simm et al) and holds up the excellent sarcasm of Katie. Lara has her own little adventure as James and Katie are on the run from the papps, which was quite a sweet little journey considering it gave her character the transition of spoilt, self-indulgent actress to compassionate helper to Katie's dying mother. I think her storyline could have been much more solid as it was a fairly off-kilter spoke for her to follow.

The problem with the film is that even though the characters are likeable and funny to journey along with, there wasn't enough conflict in the course of the "decoy". It was obvious James and Katie were going to end up together, and there was no real barrier for him to split up with Lara, the relationship feeling very much going through the motions. It was a case of everyone telling us they were perfect for each other, but between them were probably more on a par with brother and sister. It would probably have worked way better if they'd taken Lara out of the entire film and worked out another way to introduce conflict and barriers for James and Katie. The contrast of James having a lazy bestseller and Katie writing a (subsequently) Hegg tourist guide was also fun, and was one of the stronger aspects of the character journeys.

As a whole, it's generally enjoyable, and is worth watching if you like any of the actors and have a spare 90 minutes of a lazy afternoon. Though there are better romantic comedies, I did chuckle at the way the Hebrides are portrayed as I've been there.

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