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  Kat and the Band She Is... The Management
Year: 2019
Director: E.E. Hegarty
Stars: Ella Hunt, Dougie Poynter, Jennifer Leong, Katherine Kelly, Joanna David, Rufus Hound, Anna Devlin, Jackson Bews, James Doherty, Callum McGowan, Idris Debrand, Olivia Maiden, Sevan Stephan, Betty Denville, David Ahmad, Gareth Hale, Badly Drawn Boy
Genre: Comedy, Drama, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Kat Malone (Ella Hunt) is a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl in the process of taking her exams who would much rather be indulging her love of music, something instilled in her by her beloved gran (Joanna David) who was a hippy chick back in the nineteen-sixties and followed all the big names. Kat is more of a go-getter, however, and wants to be part of the management side of the music business, so spends her time with best pal Jane (Jennifer Leong) bluffing their way into gigs by pretending to be big time music scouts and the like. But such is her enthusiasm that she is constantly in danger of overdoing her ambition since she has so little to back it up...

She is still at school, after all, when she pretends she can help a struggling local band go further... Funny they should mention the sixties, because Kat and the Band was reminiscent of many a pop movie from that decade, only bolstered with a few more dramatic scenes to offset the comedy. Nevertheless, had vehicles for female pop stars been a bigger deal than the ones for the male ones back then, you can imagine they would have turned out a lot like this, an occasionally clunky but overall well-meaning and amusing trifle that may not have had both feet in the camp of gritty realism, but delivered a nicely escapist entertainment that was brightly played throughout.

A bit like a really solid three minute pop song. Some looked down on its essentially fluffy qualities, but not every British music film had to be Pink Floyd The Wall or Breaking Glass, did it? In the lead, Hunt continued to show she could carry a movie after her lead in Anna and the Apocalypse, and if the script had her crying too often for comfort, she was always able to convincingly bounce back as far as the plot went. When Kat gets her band to manage, an outfit called Dollar Days, she provides the remaining members Alex (chiselled lead Dougie Poynter from actual band McFly) and Brian (Callum McGowan, a cynic who offers an edge to the daydreaming tone) with a new drummer she has found busking on the street (Idris Debrand, securing some of the best comedy lines and applying them with truly funny aplomb).

In return, they allow Kat to start arranging gigs for them, and to the film's credit they didn't go smoothly like some fairy tale, as there were issues for her to negotiate. Such as inviting her schoolfriends to one gig only to find they're all underage for the club's admittance policy (not allowed to sell alcohol to seventeen-year-olds), though more trying times are to come when Kat sets up a tour of the Cotswolds for her charges and it proves more difficult than she imagined. Skirting the fact that she could have been so precocious she would have been a pain in the arse in real life, director E.E. Hegarty conveyed a modest charm that was definitely present, leaving it on the level of the pair of Streetdance movies out of the U.K. (the equivalent of Step Up, if you wanted a more famous comparison) of over ten years before.

When Kat and Jane hit a bumpy patch in their friendship you genuinely do hope they can sort their differences out, for the performers had a nice rapport that suggested they were better off together and tackling life's obstacles than they were apart. That said, it was not all for the kids as British celebrities popped up in supporting and cameo roles who would be most recognisable to the parents of the target audience, somewhat incongruously if you did know who they were - how many teens, even British ones, would know Badly Drawn Boy or Gareth Hale? Would this travel? It did get a release outwith the United Kingdom, but it was not as if the love of pop and rock was not universal, and if the music here (from band Some Velvet Morning) was not exactly adventurous, it did its job and you can imagine its general can-do attitude appealing across the board of the target audience. Maybe a bit Children's Film Foundation only with a smattering of swearing, though what was wrong with that?
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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