My Last Five Girlfriends (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/03/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 87 mins

Enjoyable, inventively directed romcom with a likeable performance from Brendan Patricks and some decent gags, but it's slightly let down by its bargain basement production values and it can't quite pull off a sufficiently satisfying finale.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Julian Kemp, My Last Five Girlfriends is loosely based on Alain de Botton's Essays In Love and stars Brendan Patricks as Duncan, a young architect who looks back over his disastrous relationships after a failed suicide attempt and tries to work out where it all went wrong.

His last five girlfriends include: Wendy (Kelly Adams), who leaves him for her ex; Olive (an unrecognisable Jane March), who inspires an attempt to adapt his behaviour that goes horribly wrong; Rhona (Cecile Cassel), who dumps him because he can't accept their differences (specifically, her taste in shoes); and Natalie (Edith Bukovics), who Duncan dumps partly because he falls for her friend Gemma (Naomie Harris), who becomes his fifth girlfriend and who might just be the love of his life.

The Good
Brendan Patricks makes an engaging and likeable lead, even if Duncan is occasionally a little bit on the whiny and pathetic side. That said, at least the script acknowledges Duncan's shortcomings with some amusingly self-deprecating one-liners in the narration, such as, “Childish, I know, but I felt I deserved a sulk.”

Temple's direction is excellent, packing the film with a series of inventive touches that includes animated scenes, fantasy sequences (each relationship is presented as a ride at the Duncan World amusement park), split-screen, interjections to camera, annotated flashbacks, various genre pastiches (detective films, ‘40s romances), surreal moments (Natalie's talking stuffed elephant) and even a cameo from Johnny Ball.

The Bad
Sadly, the film has had some of its thunder stolen by the very similar (500) Days of Summer and the bargain basement production values make it look a little like a budget British version with nods towards the work of Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze thrown in for good measure.

Similarly, while the script makes several interesting observations about relationships, Duncan never really seems to learn from any of his experiences, so the climax doesn't really work, particularly when compared to the almost identical ending of (500) Days.

Worth seeing?
Despite its flaws, My Last Five Girlfriends is an enjoyable, frequently amusing romcom that marks writer-director Kemp out as a talent to watch. Worth seeing.

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My Last Five Girlfriends (15)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 12:53

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