Papadopoulos & Sons (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/04/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Likeable British recession comedy enlivened by a strong support cast and a topical, engagingly feelgood central theme, though it's slightly let down by an underwritten script and a frustrating central performance from Stephen Dillane.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Marcus Markou, Papadopoulos & Sons stars Stephen Dillane as Greek immigrant and widowed self-made millionaire Harry Papadopoulos, who loses everything in the banking crisis and is forced to turn to his estranged older brother Spiros (Georges Corraface) for help. Harry intends to persuade co-owner Spiros to sell their disused family fish and chip shop in order to free up some capital, but instead Spiros insists that Harry and his whole family – teen son James (Frank Dillane, son of Stephen), teen daughter Katie (Georgia Groome) and nerdy pre-teen Theo (Thomas Underhill) – move into the flat above the shop and help get it going again.

The Good
Papadopoulos & Sons is fairly standard feelgood fare - there are no prizes for guessing what happens in the end – but its topical setting and its strong favouring of small, family-owned business over corporate greed give it more of an edge than it might otherwise have had. Its main strength lies in its colourful supporting cast, particularly Corraface as lively, loveable Spiros, Cosima Shaw as Harry's financial advisor/love interest Sophie (who gets a terrific speech where she eulogises about fish and chips) and Cesare Taurasi as the dim-witted son of a rival kebab shop owner, who takes a shine to Katie.

To be fair, despite its general predictability, the film keeps the expected clichés to a minimum, almost to its detriment (some of the more colourful supporting characters could do with a bit more exposure). In addition, the film pulls off a number of genuinely moving scenes, particularly those involving Spiros talking about the brothers' estrangement.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the film's biggest problem is Dillane's performance; his dramatic credentials are not in question, but it's fair to say that comedy and comic timing are not his forte. Admittedly, he is playing an emotionally repressed character but when he declares that ‘Success is the joy you feel’, you haven't actually seen him feeling any joy. On a similar note, the script doesn't do enough to sell his character's central conversion; in particular, a vital montage sequence is conveyed via a series of uninspired still photographs, which doesn't achieve the desired effect.

Worth seeing?
Despite its flaws, Papadopoulos & Sons remains enjoyable thanks to its spirited supporting cast and a strong central message.

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Content updated: 21/10/2017 05:56

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