out of Five
Running time: 90
Watchable, by-the-numbers romantic comedy with a few decent gags and a strong performance from Eddie Marsan.
What's it all about?
Largely developed by users of MySpace as part of an online competition, Faintheart is directed by Vito Rocco and stars Eddie Marsan as Richard, a homestore employee with a nerdy passion for Viking re-enactments. However, when his latest battle causes him to be late for his father-in-law's funeral (and turn up in chain mail), his long suffering wife Cath (Jessica Hynes) realises she's had enough and begins a trial separation.
Richard is convinced he can win Cath back, but he hasn't reckoned on the attentions of slimy PE teacher Gary (Paul Nicholls), who's also getting closer to Richard's son Martin (Tim Healy). Meanwhile, Richard's Star Trek obsessed best friend Julian (Ewen Bremner) begins a tentative relationship with the mother (Bronagh Gallagher) of a fellow Trekkie he met online.
The seemingly ubiquitous Eddie Marsan is one of our best character actors, so it's good to see him take centre stage for once and he's extremely likeable as Richard. There's also strong support from Ewen Bremner, who gets most of the film's laughs as Julian – his Klingon sex scene with Bronagh Gallagher is a definite comic highlight.
Paul Nicholls is cast nicely against type as Gary and proves a remarkably effective slime ball. However, Jessica Hynes looks utterly miserable throughout the entire film (even when Richard's meant to be winning her over) and there's no chemistry between them at all, which rather spoils the romcom element.
The film has a few good laughs, but it's all very formulaic and doesn't quite pull off its key sequences. For example, the climactic battle would have been vastly improved by a crowd pleasing punch in the nose, whilst Martin's burgeoning relationship with a pretty girl at school (Chloe Hesar as Emily) is painfully underwritten.
This is never less than watchable; however, it's neither as inventive nor as funny as it could have been and it's hamstrung by a lack of chemistry between its leads.