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Fanny and Elvis Review

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Kate starts worrying about her biological clock on the same day that her husband leaves her. She takes in his lover's husband as a lodger, then decides that he should be her sperm donor - but will they fall in love? Well, probably.

★★★★

Kate (Fox) is a Barbara Cartland for the 21st century. At least, in her own mind.

She spends her time toiling on that great bodice ripper, much to the disappointment of her uni-lecturer hubby Rob (Morrissey). When she cracks it and finishes the life-changing tome, she realises that her biological clock is now no longer on snooze. However, husband Rob is changing lives too, shacking up with the bondage babe wife of a local car dealer. Kate has already met the car dealer, Dave (Winstone), over a convenient fender bender -and naturally, they don't like each other. But, when his wife kicks him out in favour of Kate's husband, Dave has nowhere to go, and Kate just happens to be looking for a lodger -and a sperm donor (this is the very late 90s, don't forget).

The stuff of classic romantic comedy, then? Well, on paper, perhaps. Writer and first-time director Kay Mellor found great success on the small screen via such projects as Band Of Gold, and it would be easy to say that it's her relative inexperience that leaves Fanny And Elvis feeling decidedly televisual.

It would be easy - but wrong; it's also very poorly written. The characters - woefully devoid of any original quirks - lack subtlety, are generally unlikable and fail to evoke any empathy. This is something a good cast might be able to sidestep, and Winstone just about manages it - for Fox, however, it's an uphill struggle all the way with the summit never in sight.

As weak as Mellor's plotting is, her third act decision to completely disregard all sense of reality, just to accommodate a ridiculous, first-baby-of-the-millennium twist, is a huge mistake, as is Jennifer Saunders' cameo appearance as Kate's London agent. Risible, really.

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