By Hemanth Kissoon
I’m aware that he shot this in only a few days during the ‘T in the Park’ music festival, but come on, I was expecting more from director David Mackenzie. He’s a filmmaker who seems interested in the darker side of human attraction – Young Adam, Hallam Foe and Spread. With You Instead the rom-com road has been taken, with only the setting refreshing; and not only the formula adhered to, but worse still, crummy acting, stilted dialogue and lazy plotting. As you can tell, I was disappointed.
Two singers get handcuffed together – the guy Adam (Luke Treadaway) is meant to be a big star, while the girl Morello (Natalia Tena) is on the fringe with her band. Getting cuffed without the ability to be separated is not the most unbelievable occurrence, it’s Treadaway’s Yank accent. WTF! Why make him, band mate Tyko (Mathew Baynton) and manager Bobby (Gavin Mitchell) Americans if they can’t handle the delivery? Their voices are so grating, incongruous and false. Is it meant to be adding glamour? And I normally like Baynton as an actor (see 1234).
These two singers are attached and antagonistic with one another, especially Morello, even before shackled. So two not very likeable peeps, who don’t like each other either are forced together in a rom-com. Can you guess what happens?
Defenders might argue that it looks improvised and shot on a tight schedule. Well, why improvise (if that was what occurred) if your actors can’t? These were my notes during the screening “If this is scripted it’s crap, if it’s improvised it’s crap”. Harsh I know. Why not do a shed load of prep and then use the unpredictability and chaos and energy of a music festival to contribute something unexpected to your concoction? That’s the thing; You Instead had the potential for something fun – and you better inject something fresh when the maestro Alfred Hitchcock in The 39 Steps did the most memorable movie with handcuffed leads. No easy act to follow. Conventional and misjudged then, with the seed of an entertaining premise.