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Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

August 4, 2008

What a terrible title. And it’s a reworked one at that; it should have been Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging. We should be grateful, at least, that it wasn’t Stop in the Name of Pants!, Luuurve Is a Many Trousered Thing… or even Let the Snog Fest Begin!, adapted as it is from the bestselling books by Louise Rennison, detailing the confessions of teenager Georgia Nicholson (although, I must say, I’d have been really impressed had they plumped for It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers).

Georgia (Georgia Groome) is a 14 year old schoolgirl in God’s Waiting Room, Eastbourne. Her life is filled with teenage anxieties, of course, not least the fact that her parents still kiss in public, her cat Angus is mental and she doesn’t have a boyfriend. She does have a terrific bunch of mates, though, a sparky intellect, and is pretty in a not-pretty way; you know, quirky and interesting. When a couple of lads move to her school from London, bringing with them a cool cachet, it turns her life even more upside down than normal and promises to have her running around pell-mell in an attempt to understand it all.

Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Bhaji on the Beach) knows a thing or two about ensemble playing, and showing people struggling to get to grips with confusion and the restraints of orthodoxy, and here she does just that very entertainingly. There are hints of some serious adult issues just underneath the surface – a possible divorce, for one – but nothing truly derailing or heartbreaking before it’s all put neatly to bed for a genuinely feelgood last five minutes.

The success of Angus comes from the fact that Chadha asks us to spend so much time in Georgia’s company that you get to see her for all her merits and her faults, and eventually you warm to her, and her happy and well-meaning mates, cheerfully hoping that she wins through by retaining her good humour and being true to herself. Georgia’s a terrific girl, you see, and she just makes you smile through all her trials and tribulations. Oh, that’s cheesy, I know, but it really does work.

This is the second movie I’ve seen this week for which I’m not firmly in the middle of the expected constituency, but unlike the dreadful mess of Mamma Mia!, Angus won me over easily and left me grinning all the way home.

Look beyond the title, this is a treat.

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