British writer/director Simon Rumley brings a thoroughly enjoyable vibe to this sprawling ensemble movie, set on one night in an early-1990s London disco. It’s the kind of place everyone wants to get in, but no one’s quite sure why.
The film follows more than 30 characters, including the couple (Brad Gorton and Allison McKenzie) who has just broken up and is trying to prove they’re so over it; their patient best friends (Daniel Ainsleigh and Dawn Steele); the nerdy goofball (“Twenty-Four Seven”‘s Danny Nussbaum); the posh boys (Tom Connolly and Tom Halstead) trying to play with the big kids; the party girls (Emma Pike and Tania Emery); and so on. We also get involved in the lives of the staff, including the thoughtless manager (played by the cast’s biggest name, Frank Harper), stern doorman (Tony Maudsley) and cranky barmaid (Annette Badland). Fortunately, Rumley seems to delight in subverting stereotypes, so just when we figure out each character he throws a twist in, revealing a previously unseen side to their personalities. This keeps things quite lively and often very funny and makes the film feel rather more substantial than an 80-minute night at the disco.
Most of the plotlines are very silly (Lee Oakes and Emma Handy as a couple obsessed by and terrified of piercing; Gorton and Ainsleigh’s gay subtext; a trio of lost transvestites), while others actually have a bite to them, and the central romance is really rather endearing. There’s nothing terribly new here–it’s just a bright, funny little film. But it’s so nicely observed that you can’t help but enjoy it.