The Food guide to Love – Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Teresa De Pelegri and Dominic Harari
Starring: Richard Coyle, Leonor Watling, Simon Delany, Bronagh Gallagher, Lorcan Cranitch, Ger Ryan, David Wilmot
In cinemas June 13th
This is the latest in a long line of Irish films that features an overseas actor in the lead! While that actor may be the extremely talented, Richard Coyle who has come a long way since his Coupling days, it doesn’t detract from the fact that there are plenty of Irish actors with a profile who could have tackled his role here.
Coyle plays Olivier Byrne an award winning acclaimed foodie and boy about town. Rakish and handsome he has no difficulty in attracting the opposite sex but is extremely challenged when it comes to keeping them. That is until he meets Bibiana (Watling) a sexy senorita who steals his heart. Although they have little in common they have a definite spark and Oliver is sure this is the one! However the re-emergence of a school crush and Bibiana’s increasing interest in political activism create a chasm in their relationship that may prove irreparable.
This is nice. It is inoffensive. It is very funny at times. It all just feels a little “Cold Feet”. Throughout this I was constantly reminded of the hit 90s show and it simply felt like a 90 minute episode of this, which is fine for television but not for a big screen outing. It clearly wants to be Richard Curtis-esque but other than a few moments it fails in this endeavour.
Coyle is brilliant as Olivier (I don’t know if he’s ever met Anton Savage but he certainly seems to be channelling him) but unfortunately the chemistry with Watling is somewhat lacking for a movie like this. Bronagh Gallagher and Simon Dealaney make a great double act as an unlikely couple (these guys should really work together more often – they could be this generations George and Mildred!) and Ger Ryan and Lorcan Cranitch have a lovely warm relationship as Oliver’s parents so it seems a shame that the main couple just leave you feeling so lacking. There are many hugely predictable moments and the script is clichéd throughout. While this may have been a conscious choice on the parts of writer/directors Pelegri and Harari, since food is a metaphor for love throughout, it does become wearing after a while. There is also some editing and continuity issues which I won’t say too much about but just watch out for Bibiana’s umbrella handle and you’ll see what I mean. Aside from Coyle the real star here is Dublin and it has to be said that the cinematography is top notch throughout and depending on what cinema you watch it in you may have a meta moment!
There is a definite feeling of déjà vu about this and there is nothing here you haven’t seen before but it is a pleasant enough way to kill 90 minutes. If you liked “Cold Feet” you will enjoy this but I couldn’t help feeling that it would have made a better three or four part TV show than a movie as there would have been more time to develop some of the more interesting secondary characters.