12 In A Box (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/03/2013

One out of Five stars
Running time: 96 mins

This 2007 comedy is a poorly made, badly acted, lazily written and painfully laugh-free attempt at a farce that's only getting a release to cash in on the presence of TV star Miranda Hart.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by John McKenzie, 12 in a Box begins with 12 people, including Brian Mitchell as cynical, unhappily married Brian, Katy Wix as lusty Andrea, Belle Mary Hithersay as pious Alice, Kenneth Collard as ‘Little Barry’ and Glynne Steele as stuttering Adam, arriving at a remote country house for what they think is a school reunion. Instead they find a videotaped message from their dying, heirless host and a promise of a million pounds each if they can stay together in the house for the next 96 hours.

Unfortunately, one of the rules states that anyone who arrives at the house within those 96 hours has to stay till the time elapses, meaning that when angry bride-to-be Rachel (Miranda Hart) shows up intending to drag Little Barry to their wedding, she has to be locked in a room for the duration. And as if that wasn't bad enough, further complications arrive in the form of infidelity, marital discord, burglars and heart attacks.

The Bad
Leaving aside its oh-so-cynical release strategy (the film was made in 2007 and is only getting a release now to cash in on the fame of Miranda Hart, who's front-and-centre on the publicity, despite only having a small handful of scenes and spending most of the film tied up in a room), this is shockingly amateurish on every conceivable level.

While an Agatha Christie-inspired farce is a decent premise in theory, the script doesn't have the first clue of how to make that idea work and ends up ignoring half of its characters; it's also weirdly incident-free, considering the potential of the set-up.

On top of that, the acting is uniformly atrocious, to the point where it genuinely feels like you're watching the first rehearsal of the world's worst amdram society. To make matters worse, the dialogue is repetitive and painfully unfunny while the direction lacks energy and any sense of rhythm or structure (for example, at one point 14 hours go past with apparently nothing at all happening in the meantime).

The Worse
To be fair, the film does manage two small laughs right at the end, at least one of which is intentional. Unfortunately, the fact that the film was made in 2007 backfires considerably, resulting in a key plot device being rendered unintentionally hilarious. In addition, the 12A rating means that it can't even deliver in the saucy shenanigans department.

Worth seeing?
12 in a Box completely fails to exploit its initially promising set-up thanks to inept direction, a clueless script, half-formed characters and some atrocious acting. Basically, if it wasn't for the presence of Miranda Hart this would have deservedly sunk without trace. Let's pretend that's what happened.

Film Trailer

12 In A Box (12A)
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Content updated: 19/09/2018 21:15

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