If you ever wanted to see a Kelly Brook photo-shoot turned into a padded-out 75-minute feature that looks like it was made for YouTube, then British indie film Taking Stock is for you. It would take a truly passionate fan of hers to enjoy this deeply unfunny and unconvincing caper comedy.
Taking Stock is a contemporary spin on Bonnie and Clyde with Brook playing out-of-work actress Kate, who tries to emulate the former after she loses her job and her boyfriend, and can’t pay her bills. She never looks less than glamorous, despite all of these hardships as she tries to form a gang, made up of her similarly redundant colleagues, to rob her former employer. Meanwhile she ponders whether the seemingly straight-laced manager Mat (Scot Williams) could ever become her Clyde.
The movies blatant cheapness and amateurish storytelling are rarely dormant, yet this isn’t why the film fails; a low-budget is rarely the be-all and end-all of entertainment value. Taking Stock just seems to suffer from a major deficit of talent, both behind and in front of the camera. The story lacks cohesion and often becomes confusing; the actors have atrocious dialogue and little chemistry and the visuals are flat.
Moreover, the film-makers don’t seem to have met any real working-class Londoners, but instead have watched the sitcom PhoneShop and used that as an anthropological basis. Worse yet, in the character of Yoichi (Junichi Kajioka), who dishes out karmic advice and sushi, Taking Stock seems to ignorantly settle for overt stereotyping in an attempt to solicit laughs that never come.
It is Kelly Brook who actually gives the film some energy and likeability. She effortlessly projects an overtly carnal beauty that few contemporary actresses could match. Her relationship with Mat sticks out like a healthy thumb on a sore hand due to it being a relatively clear-eyed and engaging romance between two lonely 30-somethings. This makes it all the more irritating when Brook is forced to act childishly elsewhere in the film to fit in with the self-consciously wacky tone.
In fact, this is Taking Stock’s biggest crime on its harrowing rap sheet. Why feature obvious adult sexuality alongside jokes that will not work for anyone who has outgrown using their hands to mimic a gun while making pew-pew noises? It just summarises the incompetence of this deeply trivial film.
Taking Stock is released nationwide on 5th February 2016.
Watch the trailer for Taking Stock here: