Sunshine on Leith (3)

Dexter Fletcher follows his acclaimed directorial debut Wild Bill with a Mama Mia style musical set in Edinburgh, an adaptation of a stage show which will be enthusiastically embraced by fans of the band The Proclaimers (who provide all the songs) and the play.

Sunshine in Leith follows the love lives of Davy and Ally, two soldiers who return to Edinburgh after serving in Afghanistan.  Ally is madly in love with Davy’s sister Liz and plans to propose, and Davy falls for Liz’s pal Yvonne. Davy’s and Liz’s parents Rab and Jean (Peter Mullan and Jane Horrocks) are planning a party to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, when a stranger appears on the scene and reveals a secret that could derail their relationship.

This is a film that will only work for undemanding types who are less cynically inclined (it’s easy to picture middle aged mums and their daughters dancing in the aisles and singing along). For the rest of us, it’s the kind of thing that is difficult to sit through, twee at best and squirm-inducingly clumsy at worst. The direction is serviceable, and none of the flair Fletcher showed in his first film is either present or really required here. The cast attack the repetitive songs with gusto,  and there is rather good comic value in hearing Peter Mullan croak his way through a couple of numbers (he’s unlikely to be treading the West End boards in Rock of Ages or Les Mis any time soon).

This is the sort of film that is easy to judge harshly, but there’s little point, as that would be a lot like kicking a puppy. This is a gossamer thin, light as a feather meringue that’s more akin to karaoke with a plot than a movie.