Director: Chris Foggin
Starring: Will Poulter, Alma Jodorowsky, Sebastian De Souza, Preston Thompson, Cara Delevingne
Watch Kids in Love online in the UK: Amazon Prime / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Sky Store / Rakuten TV / Google Play
At first glance, this British coming-of-ager might seem like an attractive proposition, promising a ridiculously good-looking cast cavorting around an impossibly sun-drenched London, set to a so-hip-it-hurts soundtrack. However, the result is so painfully shallow that there’s almost nothing of substance to it – if it were a puddle, it would already have evaporated.
British star Will Poulter (who, coincidentally, is best friends with director Chris Foggin) plays average London teenager Jack, who’s planning to take a gap year before having to decide on a university course, during which he intends to travel around South America. That is, until he meets impossibly beautiful French girl Evelyn (Alma Jodorowsky, granddaughter of the great Chilean auteur, Alejandro Jodorowsky), who introduces him to her permanently fashion-shoot-ready set of bohemian trustafarian-types, all of whom spend their time doing nothing in a capacious London mansion owned by gorgeous orphan sisters Viola (Cara Delevingne) and Elena (Gala Gordon).
Complications ensue when it emerges that Evelyn has an on-again, off-again boyfriend (co-writer and former Skins star Sebastian De Souza as Milo), who makes a living pimping young teenage boys. Meanwhile, being surrounded by beautiful people makes an impression on Jack and he decides he wants to be a photographer for i-D Magazine (so highly praised in the script that it’s a surprise they’re not sponsoring the film), setting up an inevitable clash with his parents (Pip Torrens and Geraldine Somerville), who are pushing rather hard for him to become a boring, old lawyer.
The flimsy, cliché-laden plot essentially provides an excuse for the pulchritudinous cast to flounce around looking gorgeous for 90 minutes, their devil-may-care hedonism extending to things such as drink, some very tame drug use, fashionable nightclubs and the Notting Hill Carnival. These scenes are exceptionally dull, as nothing remotely dramatic occurs during any of their activities, while the teeth-grindingly irritating shallowness of the characters is given an additional layer of annoyance by the laughably clumsy introduction of various desirable objects, such as an expensive Pentax camera or a vintage Rolls Royce, that Viola and Elena produce with a flourish.
Traditionally, in films such as this, the central character is seduced by an initially attractive lifestyle, before ultimately having a sort of epiphany and rejecting his new crowd to follow his own path. However, in this case, you spend the entire film waiting for the scales to fall from Jack’s eyes, only to realise that the film is completely unaware of how deeply unlikeable all its characters are and wants you to love them as much as they love themselves – even teen-pimping Milo gets off relatively easily.
Fortunately, Poulter is an extremely likeable actor, but even his innate watchability is tested by a script this annoying, while none of the supporting characters are afforded any depth at all. The film is further undermined by Dirk Neil’s supposedly summery cinematography, which drenches everything in such weird-looking colours that you start to wonder if the film has been graded properly (if you’re watching it on TV, you’ll be hard pressed not to start fiddling with your settings).
It comes as no surprise to learn that the film was produced by Barnaby Thompson, the father of co-writer-slash-co-star Preston Thompson and a partner in Ealing Studios, all of which is rather ironic, given the film’s dismissive attitude to parental influence, as well as entirely appropriate to the way the film practically fetishises entitlement. The end result is like being forced to trawl through the Instagram accounts of the worst people in the world.
Kids in Love is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
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