One of this year’s innovations at the Tribeca Film Festival was the introduction of the release of several titles to Video on Demand. Over the week, I’ll be looking at five of the more popular titles, beginning with the U.K. romantic comedy My Last Five Girlfriends.
My Last Five Girlfriends is, almost literally a tour of the circus that is Duncan’s [Brendan Patricks] love life. It opens on his frustrated efforts to pen a suicide letter addressed to his last five girlfriends – then follows his memory through his time with each woman. Each woman is represented by a theme park ride or sideshow, so his first love, Wendy [Kelly Adams] is represented by an airplane ride [they met on a plane] and #3 [they are labelled by number], Rhona [Cecile´ Cassel] is represented by a rollercoaster on which the cars are giant versions of an ugly haute couture shoe that she thought was amazing [and he hated], and so forth.
Writer/director Julian Kemp does keep the film moving a pretty decent clip, but the script is more than a bit precious. Duncan strikes me as being more obtuse than the talented architect he’s supposed to be, and a bit unimaginative outside the framework of Duncan World, the theme park in which the rides and sideshows of his romantic encounters reside.
He simply never sees it coming when the argument over a pair of shoes causes the break-up with Rhona – and although he suspects he’s losing #5, Gemma [Naomi Harris], he goes way overboard with both his rationalization both that she’s cheating and then, that she’s not. Moments like these simply aren’t all that funny, however much they might conflate real situations.
Overall, though, the cast’s performances are charming and much of the humor works. There’s enough drama to make the humor more effective by contrast and, as I said, the film moves briskly along. The bits of Duncan World that relate to each girlfriend are nicely thought out and well executed, though it’s apparent that this was done on a pretty low budget [which may actually contribute to the film’s charm.
My Last Five Girlfriends is not like anything else you’ve seen and it is certainly visually arresting. Kemp and Co. know the film’s charms and limitations and keep it shirt and [mostly] sweet, at just under ninety minutes.
Final Grade: B