Movie Review by Neil Ryan
Starring: Richard Roxburgh, Justine Waddell, Jonathan Cake, Patsy Kensit, Michael Hodgson
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
THE ONE AND ONLY is a feel-good British rom-com that, unfortunately, does not feel quite good enough. It is set in Newcastle, England and traces the fortunes of Stevie (Justine Waddell), wife of philandering Newcastle United footballer Andrea (Jonathan Cake), as she meets and falls in love with another man, Neil (Richard Roxburgh), who is also already married. As well as their respective marital commitments, matters are further complicated by a pregnancy, an adoption, and the sudden death of one of the lead characters. Oh, and there’s a mildly diverting subplot which features Neil and Stevie’s respective best friends getting involved in a sexually voracious relationship.
The thinking behind THE ONE AND ONLY is clear: mix in all of the ingredients that have made other Brit rom-coms a success, stir well, and voila! So we get a bit of FOUR WEDDINGS, a dash of NOTTING HILL, a spoonful of BRIDGET JONES. Unfortunately, gathering all of the right ingredients only makes for half the recipe – the rest is down to the chefs, and with THE ONE AND ONLY writer Peter Flannery and director Simon Cellan-Jones have not taken the requisite care and effort to mix the disparate parts into a smooth whole.
The characters are not developed enough to make the audience care about them and a distinct lack of chemistry between Waddell and Roxburgh does not help matters. Roxburgh’s Neil is a decent enough every day guy and Waddell looks lovely enough to outshine lad-mag eye-candy Patsy Kensit and Donna Air in supporting roles, but the pair of them barely share any screen time together. The Northeast settings look good and there are one or two laugh out loud moments but ultimately THE ONE AND ONLY relies too much on cliches and well-worn plot mechanics. Mark it down as a missed opportunity.