THOUGH it pains us to bash a hopeful British export, we really have no choice in the case of the awfully-bad The Decoy Bride, which opened this week at the Laemmle Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica. Chances are it will be a mercifully short engagement.
The movie tries to tick all the rom-com boxes – likeable leads, cute soundtrack and gorgeous locations – but falls flatter than a oatcake after too long in a Highland oven.
Set on a remote Scottish island where leading English novelist James (David Tennant) plans to marry his self-absorbed Hollywood starlet of a girlfriend Lara (Alice Eve), the spanner in the works is Katie (Kelly Macdonald), who is hired by a PR operator to throw the paparazzi off the scent of the forthcoming nuptials. Katie and James are (surprise, surprise) thrown together through a series of contrivances, and they inevitably fall in love.
The slapdash way this picture unfolds is not only blindingly obvious to the audience, but the actors too, it seems, with Macdonald, so good in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire looking clearly embarrassed to be mired in such dreck. As for Tennant, the frantic gurning which he passed off as acting in so many Dr. Who outings is also on copious display, to no great dramatic effect.
Sad to say, The Decoy Bride is neither funny nor clever and can be charitably described merely as a mishmash of three vastly superior Scottish flicks about canny Highland folk getting the better of visiting Sassenachs: think Whisky Galore, I Know Where I’m Going and Local Hero. For a better time, Netflix any of the above movies, or better yet, settle down in front of the fire instead with a glass of the amber nectar and a good book. Would that the writer of this rubbish had done the same.
– Nick Stark
“The Decoy Bride.” No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes. At Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica. Director: Sheree Folkson. Cast: Alice Eve, David Tennant, Dylan Moran, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Urie