It may be set in London, it may feature a strong British ensemble cast of late-twenty/early-thirty somethings and it may spin its comedy around messed-up couples, but director David Kane's follow up to This Year's Love is, thankfully, far less twisted. If This Year's Love was bittersweet, Born Romantic is simply sweet.
This is mostly because all of Born Romantic's main characters are incredibly likeable, from East Is East star Jimi Mistry's hopeless, scruffy, crime munstermind to Craig Ferguson's slick easy-listening freak. The secret of this accessibility isn't so much in Kane's snappy script as it is in his choice of cast, with each player so perfectly suited to their character that, without a single exception, they manage to create fully-rounded individuals rather than convenient comedy stereotypes.
Even better, the romances involve a smart pairing of both character and actor, making for a bubbling chemistry. Ferguson's Frankie, for example, is suffering from the fallout of a hellish divorce, so can bear the barbed whips of Eleanor's rebuttals with good humour. Mo Meanwhile, (Jane Horrocks) and Fergus (David Morrissey) are the only couple with a history, and their messy exhumation of buried love makes for painfully amusing viewing. And Eddie and Jocelyn (Catherine McCormack) - easily the best pairing - are hopeless weirdos who accept each other without any of the dubious makeover nonsense you expect from rom-coms these days.
The only problem is that, if anything, Born Romantic is a little too nice and convenient, with the plot relying on too many coincidences. And, while you don't really want to deny the characters their happy ending, the conclusion does feel a little contrived, as if all we need to make our love-lives better is a snatch of Salsa and a cabbie to play cupid. Still, if you want a date movie with more balls and more brains than the standard Hollywood slush, look no further.
Packed with wonderfully observed characters and some wicked one-liners, David Kane's latest London love-letter is far more likeable than This Year's Love. It's a little too neatly packaged, but with such an impressive cast any shortcomings are forgiven.