Anyone who’s been to university or Magaluf or the Watford branch of Oceana probably has a boatful of STD stories. As hilarious as these anecdotes can be, you’d be hard pushed to find someone who could stretch them over an hour and a half for the purposes of making a feature film. That’s exactly what’s been done in Almost Married, to poor effect. Ben Cookson’s feature-length debut follows Kyle, played by Philip McGinley, who contracts chlamydia on his stag do and spends the rest of the film coming up with impossibly unbelievable and stupid ways to avoid having sex with his fiancée, played by the wooden Emily Atack, so as to keep from infecting her too.
Who knows which think-tank spent months coming up with this thread-bare plot, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it was the same one responsible for other witless films like Marmaduke and Big Momma’s House 2. Worried that the film as it was might provide nothing deserving of even a fraction of the viewer’s memory, Cookson haphazardly, and desperately, throws in a twist for the finale that, while unpredictable, has almost no prior grounding and consequently fulfills the obscure role of senselessly undermining the already weak plot.
Almost everyone has a soft spot for unpretentious, silly comedies; a lovable director like Kevin Smith has made a career out of making them, but what sets him so vastly apart from Cookson is his original writing, his genuine insightful wit and importantly his treatment of women. The women in Almost Married represent a feminist’s nightmare. Supposedly the entire motivation for the lead’s antics, his fiancée Lydia is rarely seen, and when she is it’s to moan about her fiancé not having sex with her. That’s it. The two mothers in the film are similarly hollow throughout and in the final scene, for good anti-feminist measure, they both chip in with their own complaints about their respective husbands’ sexual performance, reminding the viewer for the thousandth time, as the loathsome twist does, just how much women in this film love sex and little else.
The film isn’t totally charmless; at times it manages to spark a laugh or two, principally through Kyle’s best man Jarvis, the achingly formulaic comic relief. And the acting isn’t woeful, but one gets the feeling that the plot is only there to serve as a vehicle for an endless, mindless slew of dated and occasionally offensive jokes about STDs. Vulgarity in a comedy isn’t inherently asinine, but when its depiction is totally devoid of intellect, it really really is, to the point where it’s almost unwatchable.
The editorial unit
Almost Married is released nationwide on 28th March 2014.
Watch the trailer for Almost Married here: