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‘Modern” isn’t exactly the word; this is a well-meaning but flaccid and cliched 90s-style relationship dramedy clearly inspired by Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel High Fidelity and the resulting Stephen Frears movie with a young John Cusack playing the gloomy, lovelorn record-shop owner. There is, however, no mention of these pop-cultural elephants in the living room. The title is taken from the name of Blur’s second album – an LP of great significance to wannabe rock star, romantic and nerd connoisseur Liam (Josh Whitehouse), who is given to shrill, tiresome rants about the horrible soullessness of the modern world with its downloads and its “skinny decaf lattes”. One day, while browsing in an old-fashioned vinyl store, Liam gets talking to the beautiful Natalie (Freya Mavor), an artist with an interest in doing album covers, of all the quixotically old-fashioned things.
They fall in love and the drama intercuts between the glorious beginning of their affair and the grim breakup, the moving out, the deciding whose CDs are whose. Ian Hart contributes a wacky but wholly unbelievable cameo as Curve, a guy whose job is to be a freelance “groove consultant” to struggling bands, including Liam’s group, whimsically named Head-Cleaner. There are time-honoured romdram moments, including the tortured post-split hallucination when the guy thinks he sees his ex in a crowd, looks again … and it’s not her. Whitehouse and Mavor do their best with their roles and there’s a nice scene at the rainswept nightmare that is the Reading festival when their relationship gets stuck in the mud. But the spark of real originality, real romance, is lacking.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Modern Life Is Rubbish review – flaccid 90s-era romdram | Drama films