When Gordon Boyd (William Ruane), an unorganised postman who may – at a stretch – qualify as the main character, comes across a pen bearing the brand Fast Romance outside the address of Nadine (Jo Freer), a customer he fancies, he decides to give the service a go in the hope of winning her affections. Forced into taking boss Mr. You’d-Better-Call-Me-Kenny Cairnes (Derek Munn) with him, Boyd is joined at the event by a timid copy-girl, a begrudgingly dutiful bride-to-be, a mysterious police officer, an annoyingly handsome novelist and, of course, Nadine herself. From this point on, the characters’ lives will continue to intersect until each of them can find the love they were ultimately looking for.
Let’s just get one thing straight, in case it wasn’t immediately apparent: Fast Romance is no Love, Actually. Often feeling like a feature length episode of River City (don’t ask), the film stretches the definition of both rom and com well beyond the reach of their customary hyphen. Forced, unnatural and unfeasibly derivative, Fast Romance proves every bit as trite and gaudy as its brazen soundtrack and hackneyed dialogue – with certain plot points not so much foreshadowed as signposted and others existing solely to beef up an already bloated running time.
That said, Fast Romance does have its moments. Rather surprising for a romantic comedy, it is the drama more than the melodrama that makes the strongest impression. Taking the time between clichés and a surprisingly successful South Park homage to touch on subjects as unexpected as cancer and betrayal, both Derek Munn and Lesley Hart pull out a pair of welcomingly nuanced performances as a grieving son and uncertain doubtful bride-to-be respectively. Jo Freer, on the other hand, attacks her role with such fervor as to similarly escape unscathed as Glasgow’s answer to Glee’s neurotic force of nature, Rachel Berry. It is Barbara Rafferty who steals the show, however, as the inexplicable Mrs. Livingston, a vampiric neighbour who could have quite easily stumbled in from another, far more interesting movie.
Though not without merit, and with few Glasgow-based rom-coms to compare it to, Fast Romance is a damagingly uneven, overlong and wincingly heavy-handed affair which is unlikely to have the same international appeal of the name-checked Trainspotting. Nevertheless, with an irresistible low-budget charm courtesy of director Carter Ferguson and a suitably schmaltzy ending, Fast Romance is functional enough to appease the more forgiving of genre aficionados.