Review & Trailer: The Food Guide To Love

FGTLFrances Winston takes a look at the new Irish romantic comedy, starring Richard Coyle

Directors: Teresa De Pelegri, Dominic Harari – Starring: Richard Coyle, Leonor Watling, Simon Delaney, Bronagh Gallagher

Although this has a predominately native cast, it 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 – this 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 Oliver 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 film, 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 for a few moments, it fails in this endeavour.

Coyle is brilliant as Oliver (I don’t know if he’s ever met Anton Savage, but he certainly seems to be channelling him) and has clearly been hitting the gym to prepare for his nude scene, which will go down well in many quarters.

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 generation’s 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.

While Watling is pretty and a good actress, the two of them together don’t instill the kind of engagement that they should. Aside from Coyle, the real star here is Dublin, and it has to be said that the cinematography is top notch throughout. Depending on what cinema you watch it in, you may have a meta moment!

There are many hugely predictable moments in this, and the script is clichéed throughout. While this may have been a conscious choice on the parts of writers/directors Pelegri and Harari, since food is a metaphor for love throughout, it does become wearing after a while. There are 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.

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 film, 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.

In cinemas now!

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