East End 2015: 'One Crazy Thing' review

Without even realising there is a need for it, the cinematic palate needs to be cleansed of the loud, brash Hollywood blockbusters, thought-provoking dramas or even tawdry comedies. Sometimes, we need an honest-to-goodness bit of cinema that hearkens back to the classics; where all you need is a simple romance, a few good laughs and one or two amusing bumps in the road to keep the entertainment factor high. Amit Gupta's third feature length film, One Crazy Thing (2014), does precisely this. It's a nice slice of boilerplate rom-com that delivers on a simple plot and strong performances from its lead actors.

While the film may not seek to change the way in which we watch romantic comedies or actively try to subvert the rules of the genre, it succeeds in following-up on its initial promises of feel-good laughs and tender sensibilities. After his ex-girlfriend leaks their sex tape to the masses, disgraced soap actor Jay Veer (Ray Panthaki) finds himself working at his parents restaurant and auditioning for smaller acting roles. Still smarting, he can't make heads or tails of how his ex has achieved fame and fortune while he seems to be stuck in neutral. It's not until he meets Hannah (Daisy Bevan) that his life seems to take a turn for the hopeful and he pursues her, woos her and soon realises that she is exactly the kind of girl he wants. There's only one hitch: how can he tell her - a girl who apparently despises all this modern pop culture - about his recent bout with infamy?

The most charming aspect of One Crazy Thing is also, arguably, its biggest hindrance: it is so mild and well-balanced in its use of traditional plot devices that it ends up being thoroughly unobtrusive to watch. Gupta's script follows rom-com convention to the letter. Audiences will be able to spot the conclusion from the very beginning; they'll have the characters pinned down within moments of meeting them but all the while they may find that, despite these potential flies in the ointment, they'll want to take the ride anyway. The biggest highlight is the chemistry between Panthaki and Bevan. Their banter onscreen flows effortlessly.

They are completely at ease, inhabiting their characters so thoroughly that it genuinely feels as if this were documentary rather than fiction. Panthaki's fragility - perhaps helpfully conveyed with his bespectacled earnestness - recalls Woody Allen but more palatable and pleasing to watch. Bevan injects Hannah with a fierce independence and easy comedic timing that makes her a refreshing female lead. Ultimately, One Crazy Thing is mild, but genuine. It will completely charm audiences, leaving them with the warm, fuzzy feelings that are missing from recent rom-coms of late. Prepare to have a chuckle or two and, in the end, be won over by this lovely little work.

The East End Film Festival runs from 1-12 July. Programme, ticketing details and more can be viewed at eastendfilmfestival.comFor more of our coverage, follow this link.

Allie Gemmill | @alliegem


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