Monday, March 17, 2008

"Miss Pettigrew" is a grand farce

My freelance review:
The first great comedy of 2008 has arrived in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, the new film starring Academy Award winner Frances McDormand (Fargo).

Set in 1939 London, Miss Pettigrew is a grand farce from start to finish, with just enough sentiment thrown in for balance.

McDormand plays the title character, a middle-aged governess who is once again unfairly dismissed from her latest job -- and given up by the employment agency. Before leaving the employment agency, though, she happens to overhear of the need for a "social secretary" and -- despite not being qualified -- she goes directly to the penthouse apartment to interview for the position. A dizzying -- and hilarious -- sequence of events immediately transpire, and she has the position!

It's not easy being a social secretary, though. And especially given the social life of actress/singer Delysia Lafosse (an uproarious performance by Amy Adams). Delysia's greatest challenge is balancing her love lives -- all three of them!

One man in Delysia's orbit, an intimidating nightclub owner, offers her a terrific, ornate flat to live in. Another, an impressionable junior impresario, promises her a lead role in his new musical. And the other, a devoted musician, wants to marry her. Perhaps Miss Pettigrew will help her sort things out, especially with advice such as "choices just have to be made or you will miss out." And perhaps Miss Pettigrew will take some of her own advice along the way.

So it's not tough to see where the story ends up going. But Miss Pettigrew is all about the journey, not the destination. And for the most part, the journey is quickly-paced and very funny, a throwback to the stylish screwball comedies of the thirties and forties.

Miss Pettigrew is a lot of fun and is great entertainment.

No comments: