A FilmExposed Film Review
Dir: Gavin Claxton, 2007, UK, 83 mins
Cast: MARTIN FREEMAN, Corey Johnson, Velibor Topic, DANNY DYER, Richard Harrington, Amanda Abbington
The All Together is an ensemble movie comedy in the traditions of British farce. Chris (Freeman) is a frustrated screenwriter, who’s unhappily single and saddled with an off beat and annoying Bosnian lodger, Bob (Topic). Bob doesn’t pay rent but does stuff small woodland creatures in sexually compromising positions in the name of art. Martin is sick of Bob, and tired of his job as a producer of extremely low quality TV. He thinks putting his house up for sale could be the start of a new life.
When Chris is called in to work on his day off, he makes a pact with Bob - if Bob promises to answer the door to the estate agents due to come to the house that day, Chris will forgive him his latest catalogue of errors. No one who comes to the door that day is turned away, whether they’re estate agents, Jehovah’s Witnesses or gangsters, Dennis (DYER) and his incontinent friend Mr Gaspardi (Johnson).
The production notes spell out the ultra low budget of this ambitious film, a first time effort for writer/director Gavin Claxton. The shoot was an incredibly tight 18 days and by all accounts a labour of love and a barrel of laughs for all involved. There are a few laughs for the audience too and it really is a valiant effort underpinned by some solid performances. Martin Freeman is believable and sympathetic as the beleaguered Chris. Danny Dyer’s gangster has a fun cartoon edge and he is, as ever, incredibly charismatic on screen. The whole sub plot of Chris’ day at work producing “Ritual Humiliation” is genuinely funny and a valid satire of today’s reality TV. Richard Harrington is hilarious as the idiot TV presenter and thorn in Chris’s side and Amanda Abington is sassy and likeable as Chris’s love interest.
However, the limitations of this film are its undoing. The absence of wide shots at times undermines the comedy and generally leaves it looking more like television than cinema. The cross cutting between story lines isn’t always successful and consequently, can make the narrative feel jerky. All these things with more time, ergo more money, could have been improved. But what could have really helped is sharper script editing. Imagine a sub RICKY GERVAIS spoof of a GUY RITCHIE movie uneasily shot through with voiceover that seems to aspire to something deeper. There are some moments of genuine enjoyment but a few too many ungratifying clichés. These aren’t helped by the over theatricality of some of the supporting cast. And as a coda, the final image is rather school boyish.
The All Together tries hard but doesn’t score for a cinephile. On television, it might get a more appreciative audience.