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  Blue Juice New Wave
Year: 1995
Director: Carl Prechezer
Stars: Sean Pertwee, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Ewan McGregor, Peter Gunn, Heathcoate Williams, Colette Brown, Michelle Chadwick, Keith Allen, Robin Soans, Jenny Agutter, Guy Leverton, Mark Frost, Paul Reynolds, Edwin Starr
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Surfer J.C. (Sean Pertwee) has been out of action for weeks thanks to a back injury he picked up while participating in the sport which dominates his life, and now he's itching to get back into the sea. The coast of Cornwall is where he makes his home, living with girlfriend Chloe (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who now that his brace is off promises to get amorous with him because he's been missing that too after all this time, but that morning his friends appear at their shack and invite him surfing, guaranteeing the waves will be worth it...

So what to do? Does he go surfing or stay with his partner? That was the dilemma facing J.C. and one which translated into troubles for his mates as well as they must face up to the fact they aren't getting any younger and their thirties are just around the corner. Was it significant that by 1995 when Blue Juice was released the mid-life crisis movie had seen its optimum age group reduced by around ten years from the forties to the thirties? That young-ish men were concerned about what to do with their lives when they had over half of it still to go? How would they feel when they actually reached their forties, for that matter?

Maybe it was mainly the surfing fraternity which fretted over this, but this touched a chord with more than a few viewers thinking they were going to get a raucous comedy starring up and coming British talent only to find themselves staring into the abyss of responsibilities and commitment. Among that cast was Ewan McGregor, who was about to see his career go ballistic, although not as ballistic as Catherine's, and out of all of the faces in this film those were the ones which became most recognisable, although it must have been some comfort to their fellow cast members that they continued to be familiar to audiences through their television, and more rarely film, work.

They certainly proved they could carry a movie, even if they were part of an ensemble cast, but director Carl Prechezer, who never directed another feature film after this, his big screen debut, ensured they each got their time in the spotlight and were able to make their mark. The plot they acted out was divided between J.C.'s older friends - McGregor, Steven Mackintosh and Peter Gunn - turning up to show Gunn's soon to be bridegroom some kind of stag party involving surfing to some extent, and Chloe trying to persuade J.C. that she wants to settle down and run a local cafe, not head off around the world with him when she'd be happier at home, and assuredly not see him undertake a very dangerous surfing assignment.

No, not teaching the sport to a bunch of kids, he has to live up to his now-legendary status as the man who was able to ride a very tall wave, and local beach bum Heathcoate Williams is convinced there's another such wave on the way. Can J.C. be convinced to get out there and go for it? There was more to it than that, as if the writers had a lot they wanted to get off their chests, taking in a slightly self-righteous attitude to sampling on dance records and Jenny Agutter as a Jenny Agutter-like retired actress who Gunn's tripping on E fan wants to romance for purely nostalgic reasons. All along the way we are shown the worst of the male characters' behaviour to make us see the longsuffering women's point of view, but the film does not remain entirely unsympathetic to the overgrown boys, pointing out that just because you're turning thirty doesn't mean you have to be boring, just a bit more sensible. As a comedy, Blue Juice wasn't hilarious, but it had a likeability which carried you with it. Music by Simon Davison.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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