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One for the Road

Four guys who've had their licenses taken away for drunk driving and have been ordered to attend classes talk, drink, talk and, uh, drink in "One for the Road," a group gabfest in which the gab isn't half as smart as it thinks it is. Pic is permeated by moments of genuine charm, but runs on empty once the comic idea has been established

Four guys who’ve had their licenses taken away for drunk driving and have been ordered to attend classes talk, drink, talk and, uh, drink in “One for the Road,” a group gabfest in which the gab isn’t half as smart as it thinks it is. Permeated by moments of genuine charm, but running on empty once the comic idea has been established, this grungy-looking, expletive-heavy DV production looks to lure few paying customers. This should have been an hourlong TV drama.

Young Jimmy (Greg Chisholm), weasily Paul (Rupert Proctor), cab driver Mark (Mark Devenport, quietly effective) and businessman Richard (vet Hywel Bennett, acting up a storm) get acquainted during copious, after-class drinks. However, Jimmy and Paul hope to exploit Richard’s wealth when Richard invites everyone to his manse one night. In his first feature, writer-director Chris Cooke shows a good eye for comic absurdities and amiable dreamers, but the laid-back, observational humor is undercut by pic’s antsy over-editing and a very English strain of sour nihilism. Transfer to 35mm is OK though coldly colored, and Midlands-flavored dialogue is not always clear.

One for the Road

U.K.

  • Production: An EMMI, Film Council, Film Four presentation of a One for the Road Films production, in association with Strange Dog, Intermedia Film & Video. Produced by Kate Ogborn. Executive producers, Peter Carlton, Paul Trijbits, Robin Gutch. Co-producers, Helen Solomon, Alexander O'Neal. Directed, written by Chris Cooke.
  • Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, DV-to-35mm), N.G. Smith; editor, Nick Fenton; music, Steve Blackman; production designer, Jason Carlin; costume designer, Claire Finlay. Reviewed at Edinburgh Film Festival (British Galas), Aug. 19, 2003. Running time: 93 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Rupert Proctor, Greg Chisholm, Mark Devenport, Hywel Bennett, Julie Legrand, Micaiah Dring, Johann Myers, Jonny Phillips, Dena Smiles, Penny Linfield, Tony Classen, Tim Cunningham, Yvonne Varnier, Michaela Megran-Handley, Benjamin Linfield.