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James Gardner’s Margate-set feature debut attempts to wring comedy from disaster, but at times its protagonist’s lot seems too bleak to transcend. Foul-mouthed 15-year-old Sarah Taylor (Liv Hill) is her family’s sole provider, skipping school to pick up shifts as a cleaner at the local arcade and soliciting handjobs by the bins for extra cash while her depressed mother (a believably manic Sinead Matthews) remains bedridden and unfit for work. She resists when her performing arts teacher (Cyril Nri) asks her to channel her frustrations into a comedy monologue, but eventually finds some release in standup.
Frustrating, then, that the film itself doesn’t offer the same catharsis and instead simply deflates as it approaches its conclusion. Newcomer Hill is compelling in the serious moments; she’s brilliantly calculated in a scene that sees her seduce, spar with and swindle an older estate agent so sleazy his beer breath practically emanates from the screen. Yet though Hill’s performance enlivens an overwritten script, her jokes never quite land, undermining the film’s basic premise.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Jellyfish review – limp laughs by the seaside | Film