walking on sunshineIn the opening titles to Walking on Sunshine, a trashy musical celebrating the classic hits of the 1980s (as if we need to) – it says “directed by Max and Dania”. It’s somewhat odd not to include their surnames – but when we proceed into this rather insufferable piece of filmmaking, you can see why they were maybe a tad embarrassed to reveal their full names (it’s Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini, by the way).

Hannah Arteton (younger sister of Gemma) plays Taylor, who flies over to the beautiful coastal region of Puglia, Italy, where she is greeted by the news that her sister Maddie (Annabel Scholey) is soon to marry. Taylor had found love once here herself, and was hoping to potentially reconnect with the man who she had the intense, Summer romance with. Before she knows it, their paths do cross – but in somewhat unforeseen circumstances, as the very same man, Raf (Giulio Berruti), is her sister’s husband-to-be.

There’s a horribly contrived build up to every musical number, as it feels so forced in trying to tie the overall meaning of the track, to the film’s narrative. It feels like the entire story is built around the songs, with scenes implemented just to make the lyrics seem somewhat relevant. Yet it has to be the other way around, that’s what makes a good musical. There are some sequences that are so cringeworthy you can barely believe they’re not a parody. How both Arteton and Berruti genuinely sing Turn Back Time in the way that they do with a straight face, is hard to comprehend. How did nobody, from director to the actors, to the catering staff, not just intervene and say, hang on a second, this is really bad, isn’t it?

Arteton is one of few positives in this title, however, with an infectious optimism – and decent singing voice to boot – while Scholey, also does little to offend. In fact, last time we saw Scholey on screen, she was gallivanting around the world performing Shakespeare with Kevin Spacey in a Sam Mendes production of Richard III. Now she’s in Italy, singing Bananarama. The vocal talents are commendable, however, as is the choreography, though it does seem odd that X Factor winner Leona Lewis is cast, and yet far more singing duties are passed on to comedienne Katy Brand. Who, for what it’s worth, is vulgar and not at all funny in this feature.

There may well be an audience for this, but sadly a twenty-something, cynical film reviewer, is just not it. That said, I would still strongly advise you take my word for it – you don’t want to go Walking on Sunshine anytime soon, because Christ it burns.