Film: Cemetery Junction
Directors: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Starring: Christian Cooke
Runtime: 95 Mins
Review: Laura Coleman
It seems reasonable to assume that the vast majority of Cemetery Junction’s audience will choose to watch the film based solely on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s sterling comic partnership, whose reputation was cemented by the stratospheric success of The Office and Extras.
Such heights inevitably produce equally high hopes, but unfortunately, these are almost certain to be dashed here. In terms of on-screen performances the pair are under-used. Merchant’s cameo lasts seconds, yet it produces more humour than the rest of the plodding, prolonged scene put together. Gervais’s role as protagonist Freddie’s father is similarly played down, and feels strangely dislocated. His is supposedly a passionate, hard-grafting and fiercely defensive character, but the majority of Gervais’s lines are muttered into a newspaper he reads constantly, while slouched at the kitchen table.
What is confusing, however, is that this has all the makings of a masterpiece. As well as the writer-directors, the cast is impressive – Ralph Fiennes and Emily Mortimer play love interest Julie’s parents with real style and humour, but their performances are subsumed in the stupor of the trudging plot, a romance that is anything but interesting. It is as if the foundations have been laid for a great British film, but somewhere along the line the process reaches a junction of its own, the makers’ courage fails them and a wrong turning is taken somewhere. The result is cinema that is predictable, insipid and even – were it not for the names attached to it – forgettable.