****WARNING – may contain spoilers****
Stuffed to bursting with frank, explicit sex scenes which will get Daily Mail readers a bit hot under the collar and bore to tears anyone else who’s over 15, Ashley Horner's bonkathon brilliantlove just isn't that brilliant. But I suppose uneroticshitewithpointlessnudity would've been too literal a title.
It's the steamy tale of two morons, Manchester (Liam Browne) and Noon (Nancy Trotter Landry), who live in a garage and shag a lot. And by a lot, I mean constantly. Inside the garage. Outside the garage. On top of the garage. They don’t really even stop to eat, they just grab some ice lollies from the freezer mid-hump and keep banging away. They’re young! They’re in love! They wear skinny jeans! They’re boring! They’re unconvincing hipster artists with a capital A! She's a taxidermist who stuffs the birds a local cat leaves for them. He's a photographer who gets discovered when he gets drunk and leaves holiday snaps of her vagina in the pub (haven’t they heard of digital photography? No-one shoots on 35mm anymore.). Before you can say "unbelievable obvious Brit-flick cliché" he's been discovered by a dodgy pornographer, seduced by the Art Establishment (“His technique is that he has no technique!” Yeah, right.) and given his own exhibition where he ponces around drunk in guyliner and skinny jeans, insults the intelligentsia and wees on the floor (Try doing that in the White Cube). Meanwhile she’s got a bit miffed that now everybody has seen her mimsy and leaves him. Not having stuck his penis into anything for a whole 5 minutes of screen-time, he takes matters into his own hands (fnar, fnar) and relaxes by, ahem, “dancing with himself”. While sporting a plastic bag over his head. As you do. Cue life-threatening masturbatory mishap and big emotional reconciliation. There. I've just saved you 97 minutes of your life. No need to thank me, just use them wisely.
A love story with precious little story and too much luuuuurve, brilliantlove is like a toddler showing off her knickers at a party, determined to shock and consequently as boring and inoffensive as it sounds. Films like 9 Songs, Romance, Anti-Christ and Shortbus have already blurred the lines between porn and mainstream cinema by featuring actors having non-simulated sex. brilliantlove, with its obviously posed, fake sex scenes, is pretty tame by comparison. There’s nothing more tedious than watching two actors pretend to have sex. Unless the sex reveals something about the characters internal lives or is integral to the plot, what’s the point? It’s just titillation. And pretty pedestrian titillation at that. If I want to be titillated, I’m only ever a mouse click away from enough hardcore filth to make me go blind.
Profoundly unerotic, brilliantlove has some of the most unintentionally hilarious dialogue it’s been my misfortune to hear in a long time and there is genuinely nothing worse than a Manc lass talking dirty (“Eeeeeugh, ye dirty bastard, ye spoonked on me arse”). Putting in the kind of performances that are best described as brave rather than good, Trotter Landry and Browne never convince you that Manchester and Noon are anything more than a ragbag of clichés and Browne in particular is so smug and irritating as Manchester that you’d cheerfully strangle him with the ratty scarf he wears.
The script is terrible and, judging by his grasp of narrative storytelling, screenwriter Sean Conway has obviously been raised in a cave and has never seen a film, read a book or heard a joke before. Perhaps the most ludicrous aspect of the film however is Horner and Conway’s vision of the art world. Sure it can be superficial but only in the movies would a moron like Manchester be feted for some grubby little shots of his girlfriend’s fanny. In reality, earnest amateur taxidermist Noon would become the darling of the In Crowd and swept off to become the next Polly Morgan.
Graphic and naïve, brilliantlove desperately wants to be provocative but the only thing it provoked in me was apathy. Along with Bobcat Goldthwait’s World’s Greatest Dad, it is however the second film I’ve seen this year to feature the questionable delights of auto-erotic asphyxia which kinda makes me wonder if everyone out there but me is into danger-wanks? As dull as it’s possible for a film featuring acres of naked, jiggling flesh to be, brilliantlove is a pretentious little waste of your time.
Liam Browne, Nancy Trotter Landry