Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Albatross: Flouncy, Scattered, and Cheap...And not in the good way

Just to warn you I'm sick so I'm not in a good mood, so if this piece comes out overly snarky then just deal with it, i'm always snarky.
So I'm visiting my mommers over Russian New Years, we weren't able to sit down together on the couch and watch a film until the night of the 1st. I'm perusing through the On Demand menu and stop on Albatross (2011) the British film starring new comer Jessica Brown-Finlay and hotter than hot delightful actress Felicity Jones. It's a comedy/drama which I initially think is weird because the trailer looks like it's desperately trying to be an Andrea Arnold film. It costs 9.99$ to the usual 3.99$ but I figure it's going to be better than biting the bullet finally watching Midnight in Paris (2011) which I desperately don't feel like doing.
Jones and Finlay show up for Jones' younger sister's 'P' themed birthday party, on the left we have Peter Pan and on the right, you guessed it. Princess Leia. Shocker
Albatross is the story of a dysfunctional family who is falling apart at the seams. Enter busty, brilliant, and rebellious teenager who befriends the family's teenage daughter and begins an elicit affair with the walking mid-life crisis angsty father of the household while the shrewish horrid wife makes everyone's lives hell by pursuing her asinine selfish ambitions and putting everyone down in the process. So basically a little My Summer of Love (2004), with a little Secrets & Lies (1996) through the American Beauty (1999) filter, comes Albatross. Right off the bat you know that just like in American Beauty the sexual nuances are going to be disingenuous. Middle-aged sexually frustrated men are privy to being attracted to perky-nippled grace of youthfulness beautiful girls within close proximity to them, you don't say! Having an affair with your daughter's best friend who's underage at that is going to lead no where good. well, i'll be! a controlling stage moms is more likely to focus on that than her husband's needs leading him to awkwardly masturbate to paintings of seascapes. Well, i'll admit that last one I wasn't expecting, but how many more awkward mid-life crisis anger-hand-jobs do we have to see before we get the point? 
In the respite, the two teenage girls travel to (where else) Oxford to party and make snide comments about the plethora of WASPy students who discuss literature with the same fervor with which people usually make love. 
The back to the daily gloomy grind of being a really hot teenage girl around a lot of stupid young men, and then realizing that the 40-something intellectual bastion of truth and respect you've clung to is not actually what you thought he was and comes way too fast, thereby he's no better than any of the others who are always trying to cop a feel. 
Cut to, the girls, separately of course, walking down the beach contemplating the uselessness of it all. Then end. 
As Antonia Quirke put it: it's the coming-of-age-end-of-divorce story. If they had to give us characters we'd all seen before they could have at least thrown us a couple of sex scenarios that would keep our interest, alas for all of the cliche'd sex inside a dark hallway, or making out while drunk and dancing at a student shindig, and the gratuitous self-aggrandizing flashing of the tits to prove you're 18 was not anything we'd never seen before, nor was it particularly aesthetically pleasing. 
Also, the comedy angle was completely lost on me, maybe because I tend not to understand snide British humor, but still. It had the possibility to be a next Fish Tank (2009) but ended up picking up the pieces that film had left in its ascent, leaving itself rather scattered as a narrative, and as a sex-film, rather ineffective, in more ways than one. Watch with a box of cheap Chardonnay, otherwise skip. Trailer below. 

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