Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So here’s how it works. I have this stack of movies to choose from and I’m getting a bit of a bad reputation. I’m becoming the ‘go to guy’ for bad movies. Your Dinocrocs and Mega Piranha’s and Sci-Fi channel originals and Black Emanuelle exploitation films… this seems to be what people expect from me. But no more. I’m turning over a new leaf and I’m going to start watching classier, upscale movies and I’m going to start with this movie ‘Tamara Drewe’. Sure, I watch a lot of British films but these movies usually feature actors talking in a dialect I can barely understand and these movies usually end with the majority of the cast getting shot to death. True, I like these kinds of movies, but that’s the old me. With Tamara Drewe we have a proper British movie starring some proper British actors such as the lovely Gemma Arterton and Tamsin Greig speaking proper English just like Nigella Lawson and Robin Lustig speak on NPR. If anybody out there can arrange a meet and greet with Nigella Lawson for me, I’d really appreciate that. But I digress. Plus this movie was directed by a proper British filmmaker in Stephen Frears. ‘The Queen’? ‘Dirty Pretty Things’? Both on this site somewhere and both great movies… please, it doesn’t get any more proper than that. So with actor Craig Fairbass nowhere around shooting people in the head, we settle in with ‘Tamara Drewe’ to raise my game. Yes. Unfortunately halfway though ‘Tamara Drewe’ I was really hoping Craig Fairbass would show up unannounced and start punching people in the face and shooting them in the head. Making it all the way through ‘Tamara Drewe’ I realize I had better stick with what I know.

We will be spending unpleasant quality time at the country estate of pulp fiction author Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam) and his wife Beth (Greig). They provide a service where writers can get away for a retreat and work on their novels and stuff. It’s all quite proper. Nicholas is a bit of cad constantly having affairs behind Beth’s back, but he always comes back home on his knees and Beth always takes him back.

Then Tamara (Arterton) floats back into town. When she left some years ago she was a hook nosed trouble maker but today… she is a successful columnist and a vision of beauty in a pair of Daisy Dukes. And still a trouble maker. The strapping Andy (Luke Evans) who dumped Tamara years ago apparently has fallen for her all over again.

Why? It would appear to me for no other reason than she's super hot. Unfortunately for Andy, Tamara has fallen for Ben the eye shadow wearing Rock Star (Dominic Cooper) and marriage is imminent. Nicholas the Cad, who rejected the hook nosed Tamara back in the day, is regretting that now and would like very much to make Tamara his next conquest. Kind of overseeing all of this are a pair of foulmouthed obnoxious teenage girls who will set in motion a series of unfortunate events which will lead to Ben the rock star breaking up with Tamara, Tamara being upset that Andy is doing the local barmaid and Nicholas the Cad getting Tamara exactly where he wants her. Then somebody gets trampled by a stampeding herd of cows. Largely because of these foulmouthed teenage girls. Then a poor dog get shot in the head for just being a dog. And everybody goes home happy. Except that dude that got trampled. Not him.

Just so you know a lot of people are really fond of this movie and that’s great for them. I wouldn’t be one of these people. For starters I don’t know what this movie is supposed to be. I’m told it’s a sex farce comedy… but… well… okay. You see outside of being really good looking I’m not sure what the appeal of Tamara Drewe is. In fact Tamara seems more like Stephen King’s Carrie in that she appears to be back in town only to destroy the lives of everybody who did her wrong when she had a hook nose. Not that we cared a heckuvalot about these people whose lives she’s about screw up anyway. Outside of Andy the lovable hunk and Boss the Dog almost all the characters in this film were uniformly abhorrent. Unlikable. Repulsive. Particularly the foulmouthed teenage girls. I have no doubt that a fifteen year old girl can probably utter some horrific things, but that was damned disturbing to listen too.

Which brings me back to my confusion about the type of movie that I was supposed to be watching. It might be a comedy and all, but observing fifteen year old girls talk dirty wasn’t very funny me. Observing unsavory people act unsavory towards each other and watching Tamara consciously make a number of suspect life decisions wasn’t all that funny to me. Watching Boss the Dog get shot in the head and watching the Cad get trampled by a herd of cows wasn’t all that funny. Well, maybe a little. Besides, what did the Cad do to deserve this unfortunate end that was worse than anything anybody else did in this movie? If anybody needed to get trampled by cows it was Tamara. But this is based on a novel and I guess that didn’t happen in the book. Sometimes creative liberties need to be taken.

However, what the trampled Cad does for us is smooth a way for an all around happy ending. With him out of the way his snarky snide wife can now have a relationship with the weak, spineless American and still enjoy her dead husband’s wealth. Tamara and Andy can also be together now. Why would Andy want Tamara? I mean she does looks fabulous and is in possession of a glorious bum, but as far as I can see she has nothing else to offer beyond that. To top it off the completely destructive, profane, repulsive teenage girls even gets what they want with absolutely no repercussions for anything they did in this movie. I’m supposed to laugh at this? Yet Boss the Dog is dead for being a dog. Boss, at least, had no control over his actions, but he had to die.

If Craig Fairbass was in this movie Boss the Dog would still be alive and all of these other clowns would have bullets in their heads. I’m letting this go and will now begin my social treatise on the genre of nunsploitation. That I can relate to.

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