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Born Romantic Review

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Six lonely thirty-somethings search for love in London, their courtships played out against the backdrop of a salsa club. Meanwhile, minicab driver Jimmy quietly watches their romantic drama unfold from the driver's seat.

★★★★★

From the writer-director of 1999's This Year's Love comes this equally lightweight but enjoyable confection, again focusing on the romantic trials and tribulations of that most unfortunate of creatures - the thirtysomething single Londoner. Echoing the structure of his first film, Kane tracks six largely unconnected characters whose lives, in fatalistic manner, overlap, this time thanks to the twin poles of their existence - a salsa club and the local minicab firm (Kismet Cabs, named after the film's production company), which ferries them from one drama to the next.

Refreshingly, Kane's female characters make more of an impression - icy Eleanor (The Sixth Sense's Williams), frumpy freak Jocelyn (an unrecognisable McCormack) and Mo (Horrocks), who covers up devastating betrayal by sleeping with any man who'll have her. Vying for their affections are love rat Fergus (Morrissey), the dapper Frankie (Ferguson) and Eddie, a would-be criminal played with disarming charm by East Is East's Mistry. Meanwhile, pulling this dysfunctional crew together is minicab driver Jimmy (Lester), quietly fighting his own heartbreak.

Underscored with a gentle, almost whimsical humour - thanks largely to minicab drivers Hart and Thomson, whose pseudo-philosophical musings on women and relationships punctuate the main drama - yet suitably gritty, Born Romantic will no doubt appeal to the legions of Cold Feet fans who are missing their weekly fix (as well as Thomson, look out for Cold Feet's Hermione Norris as, coincidentally, are embittered ex-wife).

But herein, to an extent, lies the problem, as Kane's film fails to measure up to the high standards set by recent TV forays into the same themes. The limitations of the running time - 96 minutes to develop three complicated relationships isn't long - means empathy is correspondingly limited. Yes, there are laughs, but Born Romantic isn't quite as funny or endearing as it would like to be, and while this prevents a descent into sentiment, it makes the action less involving than you would hope.

The cast are uniformly great, bringing to life the slight plot, and the salsa club scenes are fun in the best dance movie tradition - romantics will certainly find much to enjoy. But we have undeniably been here before many a time, which raises the stakes - and sadly, Born Romantic has nothing new to say.

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