I think most people would agree that suicide is probably not the best subject for a comedy film. However will this dark comedy based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel of the same name be a hit?
On New Years Eve four strangers meet at the top of a building in London with the intention of killing themselves. This chance meeting stops them from going through with it and they decide to temporarily hold off their intentions. Soon the media hears of their situation and the unlikely friends are front page news.
I remember reading this book when it first came out and I liked it a lot. But as you would expect the film adaptation has problems trying to condense its themes about suicide, depression and friendship into an hour and a half. A lot of the subtlety of the book is missing therefore some the characters can come across as caricatures. Toni Collette’s Maureen suffers the most as her chapters in the book really went into her situation with her disabled son Matty and there was more time to go in-depth about the reasons behind her suicidal feelings. Pierce Brosnan’s Martin Sharp was quite a one note character in the book compared to the other characters and is exactly the same here. He’s mostly there for cheap laughs at his situation and is not that sympathetic a character.
The younger actors impress the most here. Imogen Potts is great as Jess, an eighteen year old impulsive politician daughter’s who holds a sad family tragedy behind her wild behaviour. I remember finding her character very annoying in the book at times, but in the film she was my favourite of the four. Aaron Paul also impresses as struggling musician JJ and he and Potts have nice chemistry together in their scenes.
It’s not always as laugh out loud funny as it should be and sometimes the bigger problems the four of them face are simplified or resolved too easily. But its an easy watch with some amusing moments and characters, so it’s not the all out disaster that I feared it would be.
Rating 3/5 Harmless enough although a lot is lost in the translation from the book