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  Futile Attraction Love Is A Four Letter Word
Year: 2004
Director: Mark Prebble
Stars: Peter Rutherford, Danielle Mason, Glenda Tuaine, Alistair Browning, Michelle Ang, Desiree Rose Cheer, Paul McLaughlin, Jeremy Randerson, Bret McKenzie, Lee Donoghue, Christopher Brougham, Bevin Linkhorn, Taika Cohen, Adam Gardiner, Lauren Jackson
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: We are introduced to this documentary by its presenter Dudley Earnsworth (Alistair Browning), who sets out the stall immediately: this is a film about relationships and specifically the dating game, a subject that causes a lot of heartache for a lot of people. Will you get their phone number? Will you have the courage to call it? Thankfully, there is a way to make dating easier, and that's by using an agency, and so we are to follow the course of a couple's relationship after they meet up through the Flying Kiwi Dating Agency. It's just a matter of picking the right couple, and they have already chosen the female half, Germaine (Danielle Mason), a 25-year-old ex-model, so the next man to phone in to the agency will be set up with her. Unfortunately the next man to call is Randal (Peter Rutherford), a telemarketer, but they set him up with Germaine anyway - with hopeless results.

The thing about doing a mockumentary is that the end product may not be convincing as fact or funny as a comedy, and while Futile Attraction is hard to believe, it is by happy chance funny. The whole fake documentary experienced its boom in popularity thanks to the work of Christopher Guest and his amazing friends in films such as This is Spinal Tap and Best in Show, but not everyone had the skill to carry off improvised humour and here director Mark Prebble and his co-writer Benedict Reid appear to have wisely scripted every twist. The cast managing to make their performances natural, in an exaggerated manner, rather than forced and calculated, and even when the characters are acting like idiots, which is quite a lot of the time, there's a lot of charm to their efforts.

Futile Attraction became known on the internet for its appeal; I don't mean likeability, I mean an actual, charitable appeal which took place due to the funds running out before the film was completed. Prebble and Reid put together a web page that asked for donations to help them out and in a stroke of luck they managed it. Was it worth it? Yes; described as an "anti-romantic comedy" where the boyfriend and girlfriend are completely mismatched and the viewer doesn't want to see them get together, it's largely successful in its ambitions. The couple go out on dates arranged by the documentary crew, the first of which sees phone obsessed mother's boy Randal order the most expensive thing on the menu which is quickly vetoed by the director, Anne (Glenda Tuaine), while vegetarian do-gooder Germaine has a plate of garlic bread. All this leads to a relationship based on total misunderstanding that for the sake of the film the crew want to break up, but will they succeed? With a nice attention to detail (watch the background closely) and some genuinely hilarious moments, the film is well worth seeking out. Music by Jonathan Kennerly.

[The DVD has a wealth of features, including a director's commentary, deleted scenes, documentaries, interviews, a trailer and more. For more information visit www.makemarksmovie.com.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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