Magazine article Screen International

The Food Guide to Love

Magazine article Screen International

The Food Guide to Love

Article excerpt

Dirs: Dominic Harari, Teresa de Pelegri. Spain-Ireland-France. 2013. 91mins

There is a good deal of good-natured by-the-numbers rom-com fun to be had with The Food Guide To Love, and while the ingredients never quite combine to make it a classic dish it is given a delightful dash of heart and verve thanks to the whole-hearted lead performances by Richard Coyle and Leonor Watling.

The Dublin locations are terrific. The film smartly doesn't use traditional tourist spots, but instead presents the city as a warm and watery place where romance can easily bloom.

The film, the second feature from Dominic Harari and Teresa de Pelegri who made 2004's Only Human, received a warm welcome at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (following its screening in the Culinary section at the Berlin Film Festival), and certainly it makes great use of its Dublin-backdrop. It has a genial charm that may make it appealing to distributors of mainstream com-rom fare (plus charming bi-lingual actress Watling is well known in home territory Spain and Coyle has a certain cult status in Ireland) and the power of Fox behind it should see it get strong home entertainment and television outings.

Coyle (who starred in terrific Irish genre film Grabbers and is well-known on UK television through series such as Coupling) plays a charming food writer who rebelled against his father's dull Irish cookery but was introduced to the joys of great food while taken on a trip to Spain to follow the Irish football team.

As a kid his 'porn' stash us actually cookery magazines, and as an adult his columns, television appearances and playful charm combine to make him popular with the ladies. But for some reason he can only make it to the six-month mark in any relationship...that is until he meets Bibiana (Watling), a feisty Spaniard who falls for the wrong men including her current boyfriend Fernando (Gines Garcia Millan).

There first meeting is one of those oh-so clichéd 'locked out of girlfriend's apartment with no clothes' moments, but at least Coyle has the charm to get away with the over-used scene, and Watling (not seen enough in English language productions) has the passion and innate intelligence to see why her character would appeal to this lusty food writer.

The film actually finds its footing from that moment as their relationship develops nicely (the irony being that this Spaniard knows nothing about cooking) as they start to develop a life together. …

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