Engaging family comedy What We Did on Our Holiday sees the creators of Outnumbered repeating the BBC sitcom’s winning mix of beleaguered parents, cute scene-stealing kids and spot-on observational humour with audience-pleasing results.
Rosamund Pike and David Tennant are the bickering mum and dad, Abi and Doug, who are taking their three young children (Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull) to the Scottish Highlands for the 75th birthday celebrations of Doug’s ailing father Gordie (Billy Connolly) and trying to keep secret the fact that they are now living apart and planning to divorce.
With the bash being held at the baronial home of Doug’s wealthy control-freak brother Gavin (Ben Miller) and his neurotic put-upon wife Margaret (Amelia Bullmore), they face an uphill struggle preventing their offspring from exposing their fibs.
Many filmmakers also face an uphill struggle making the transition from small to big screens, yet writer-directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin accomplish the feat remarkably well, introducing a note of poignancy that balances the laughs and proves unexpectedly affecting, even if things do get a little formulaic towards the end.
Pike, Tennant, Connolly and co deliver the well-honed gags with aplomb (‘You’re so English you’re practically French,’ Miller’s Gavin taunts his expat brother), but as with the TV show it’s the children’s often improvised dialogue that provides the funniest moments.
Certificate 12A. Runtime 95 mins. Director Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin.
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