Set against the backdrop of Scotland’s T in the Park (opens in new tab) music festival, You Instead is a breezy romantic comedy that makes up in energy and atmosphere what it lacks in plot.
The story couldn’t be more basic: rival pop stars Luke Treadaway and Natalia Tena get puckishly handcuffed together and are forced to spend 24 hours joined at the hip. Treadaway’s Adam is the swaggering singer in a famous Californian electro-pop duo, while Tena’s Morello is the spiky leader of a struggling post-punk riot-girl band.
At first, of course, they can’t stand each other. Yet as they yomp through the festival-site mud, negotiating the hazards of portaloos and sleeping in a yurt, and attempting to mollify their respective girlfriend (supermodel Ruta Gedmintas) and boyfriend (banker Alastair Mackenzie), it gradually dawns on them that each could be the other’s soul mate.
The pair may be yoked together by sturdy handcuffs, but the story is as flimsy as a daisy chain. Yet director David Mackenzie, filming guerrilla-fashion over four-and-a-half days at the 2010 T in the Park, really captures the buzz of being at a festival. Treadaway (the posh stoner in Attack the Block (opens in new tab)) and Tena (Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter (opens in new tab) films) fit their roles to a T, too. Even if you find the squabbling duo as irritating as they initially find each other, by the time they get on stage for their respective gigs you should be cheering along with the crowd.
On general release from 16th September.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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