Sunday, December 14, 2008

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

Yes I Can Bend It Like Beckham

I guess Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is the female equivalent of the teenage male sex comedies, without the sex or gratuitous nudity that is, because this is firmly in chick lit territory and based upon two books written by Louise Rennison - Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God. If you may, this aligns itself more toward Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole series, where we get a glimpse of the titular character's daily life and anxieties through episodes of growing pains.

Directed by Gurinder Chadha who brought us Bride & Prejudice and Bend It Like Beckham, this movie centres upon 14 year old Georgia Nicholson (Georgia Groome) and her three girly pals whom Jas (Eleanor Tomlinson) is her best pal of the lot. Both have major infatuations with new boys in school Robbie (Aaron Johnson) and Tom (Sean Bourke), and naturally jealousy ensues when Jas manages to hook up with Tom, but for Georgia, she's stuck with having to battle for Robbie's affections with rival Wet Lindsay (Kimberley Nixon, last seen in Wild Child which to a certain degree might seem like an American equivalent for a movie like this), who's the school's flower with cover girl looks.

And while "boylingual issues" occupy the bulk of Georgia's time, she also has major freak-outs with trying to figure how to throw the most memorable birthday party ever, as well as trying to save her own family from disintegrating, with Dad (Alan Davies) being sent to New Zealand because of a major promotion at work, and Mom (Karen Taylor) seems to be having a flirty good time with their home interior decorator.

It's quite a ditzy film and I guess for all the girls out there, the events as they unfold in the movie will probably be easily identifiable, and I guess the boys too will have a field day with some of the situational humour which came by the bucketloads. And what I thought to be really quite accurate, is the way how everyone second guesses each other when it comes to the affairs of the hearts, and sometimes dwell onto stuff a little too much to the extreme, incessantly finding meaning in something as simple as a word or phrase. This naturally brings out the ugliness that stem from desperation, and we observe how Georgia slowly degenerates from nice girl next door, to uber Ms Insensitive.

It's a fairly light and breezy chick flick that is peppered by some insane characters, such as Georgia's sister who thinks that she's a cat, and probably who I thought to be one of the most innovative fellas out there who would outplay, outlast and outwit the likes of Stifler and McLovin, is Peter Dyer (Liam Hess), the self-professed expert who offers lessons and opportunity in allowing girls to experiment in achieving the perfect snog. Talk about being sly!

Ultimately, this is a feel good movie which has all its loose threads tied up very conveniently, which you could see coming from a mile away. But it doesn't dwell on its problems for too long, because there's always a solution that springs up for Georgia and gang to tap on. Peppered by some good music in the soundtrack, and generally likable characters who remind all of us of some dreaded issues when growing up, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a surprisingly well designed teenage comedy that doesn't have to rely on cheap gimmicks like incessant foul language, sex and nudity to draw the crowds.

And for that quality, this is somewhat refreshing for comedies targeted at that demographics. I might go one step further and say I won't mind ploughing through the books as well!

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