Feeling its way into somewhere between tearjerker, buddy comedy and sweet bromance, Running Naked makes a dash for a wide variety of emotions, without ever taking a firm hold of any. Director (and co-writer) Victor Buhler (The Negotiators) works the platform for something more weighty or witty but the film just can’t take off, flitting awkwardly between the two.
Mark and Ben are two teenage cancer patients who befriend each other in hospital, forming a profound bond that keeps them in each other’s lives beyond recovery and into their 30s. The film focuses on these two chapters of their lives. While at hospital the pair are played with infectious charm and cheek by Samuel Bottomley (as Mark) and James Senneck (as Ben), with their adult iterations performed by the equally impressive Matthew McNulty (of Misfits) and Andrew Gower (of Being Human).
McNulty’s Mark has developed into an emotionally unstable doctor with professional success and an outgoing, amiable personality. Gower’s Ben, meanwhile feels like he isn’t going anywhere particularly quickly in his job and has impairing foibles and idiosyncrasies that are often set up to be humorous, but it rarely works. In spite of these differences the pair find comfort and friendship together, and their brotherly love is unimpeachable.
The pair’s friendship is tested to its limits by a series of twists and turns, some more predictable than others. The writing can be a little unforgiving when broaching topics close to the bone, and veers from the sensitive to the silly. Running Naked is ultimately a feel-good flick reaching into so many genres, it never quite settles comfortably.
Running Naked is released digitally on demand on 4th February 2021.
Watch the trailer for Running Naked here: