At first Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging comes across as a kind of forced Looking for Alibrandi, complete with try-hard teenage lingo and a rather garish colour scheme. But by the end, this film had me on side with its hilarious characters, great performances, and post-feminist nous.
Based on the ultra-successful (at least in the UK) series of books by Louise Rennison, Angus… focuses on the life of 14 year old Georgia Nicolson. She’s unhappy with her appearance, not very popular at school, and is grossed out by her parents’ pashing in the kitchen first thing in the morning. It all sounds very humdrum. Her voiceover is initially jarring, and she’s simply too full of life to be real. But I soon adjusted to the language and tone of the film.
It’s interesting to note that Georgia and her friends are totally into boys and kissing as many as they can, yet don’t seem to think too much further ahead. It’s strange to note that the boys in this film are all rather sensitive, and at times at the mercy of the hormonally-driven girls. It’s a nice inversion of the type of teen movie fodder we’ve seen over the years, which traditionally shows the boys as sex-obsessed, and the girls as intelligent beings who seem to ignore the former’s failings in the interest of finding ‘true love’. Now, I haven’t seen The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, but I think it says a lot that the word ‘pants’ is a derogatory term in Georgia and her friends’ lingo.
Georgia Groome plays Georgia with aplomb, although her best friend Jas (Eleanor Tomlinson) does steal the scene on several occasions, the best being when she mimics Keira Knightley with astounding success. The boys are at first treated as eye candy but later given some depth, and all are up to the task. Alan Davies fits the role of the dorky father rather well, as does Karen Taylor as her mum.
Gurinder Chadha also directed Bend It Like Beckham, and certainly knows how to tell a story from a girl’s point of view. The film is passionate in its affirmation of teens and responsibility, but also isn’t afraid to have a little fun. It doesn’t beat around the bush either, which is nice. It perhaps goes out of its way to resolve some subplots that would have been better left alone, but that didn’t matter so much when I was grinning like an idiot at the pure fun of it all.Rating: