I Want Candy

Director    Stephen Surjik
Starring    Tom Riley, Tom Burke, Carmen Electra, Eddie Marsan, Michelle Ryan
Release    March 23rd (UK)    Certificate 15
3 stars


26th March 2007

Sex comedy (US): Young men, often in high school, pursue hot young girls and lust after sex with hilarious results. Features nudity, rock music and at least one scene in which the protagonist will either fuck a piece of food, or conversely, consume a bodily fluid.

Sex comedy (UK): A middle-aged man with a bad haircut takes an unassuming job such as a window cleaner or driving instructor. Features fleeting shots of exposed breasts, sped-up footage with comedy sound effects and lots and lots of bobbing man-arse.

You're forgiven for thinking twice about paying to see a British sex comedy these days; the last one of note was Sex Lives Of The Potato Men, which was so bad it made the front page of the Daily Mail. It seems like the Americans have got the genre sewn up at the moment, what with their sexy young teens and their zany, pie-fucking antics. That explains the oft-used tag: 'The ______ American Pie', where the blank is filled with all-manner of prefixes by lazy hacks desperate to get their very own poster quote. With I Want Candy, we have 'The British American Pie' (a label applied apparently without irony) which promises lewd behaviour by the bowlful and a hot slice of Yankee dessert in the shapely form of Carmen Electra. It's an Ealing comedy (the English film company that spawned The Ladykillers among others) and although it's not especially worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as its studio stable mates, it's nonetheless an amusing, if lightweight comedy with a strong British identity.

Joe (Riley) and Baggy (Burke) are two aspiring young film students out to score themselves a big movie deal in London. A chance encounter with filth-peddling gangster Doug (Eddie Marsan - you'll know the face, not the name) sees them adapting their psychological thriller 'The Love Storm' into a porno on the promise of big bucks, but only on the understanding that they rope in professional fuckjar Candy Fiveways (Electra) as the star. Seeing as they lack the budget of Spielberg and the know-how of Soderbergh, they end up shooting their flick in Joe's parents house while they're at work. Hilarity, as I'm sure you've already guessed, ensues.

Aside from Miss Electra's fairly awesome rack, I Want Candy's poster also features a picture of a greased pear - don't be shy, you know where it's been - which gives the impression that it's a sex-filled romp with all-sorts of mischievous behaviour and crude sexual experiments. That would be selling I Want Candy short; aside from a few gratuitous gross-out moments (one 'money' shot is childish and entirely unnecessary) it's actually rather a sweet little story about two young guys trying to break into the movie business. Best mates Joe and Baggy are well-written parts; Joe, a wannabe big-shot producer, is infused with Alan Partridge-style cheese and several David Brent-esque mannerisms, while Baggy is a neurotic, Woody Allen-quoting writer/director with his eye on a career rather than a cumshot. They have good chemistry and have charisma to spare, and their relationship convinces entirely, perhaps due to their relative unknown status. Carmen on the other hand possesses about as much acting ability as... well, as a porn star, so she pretty much passes on merit.

There's lots of fun to be had here and thankfully not all of the laughs derive from knob gags or pubes on toast - there's some genuinely witty writing and a good understanding of the kind of awkward comedy British audiences love. One interchange between Joe and and gangster Doug over the phone sees a threatening conversation turn into something much sweeter when both men are forced to pretend they're talking to loved ones when other parties enter the room - a simple gag, but fantastically executed. Despite the situation they find themselves in being completely ridiculous, there's much comedy to be found elsewhere; it's a shame that, every so often, a crude visual gag is thrown into the mix to keep the pie-fuckers happy. A scene with a Thai woman shooting ping pong balls out of her snatch is not only tired and unoriginal, but feels like it's in the wrong movie.

I Want Candy has its flaws. It's a little rough around the edges - there's a couple of shots with the crew visible and a few shots end abruptly, as if cut short - and the two romance storylines feel like they've been shoe-horned in to meet a required quota (Eastenders star Michelle Ryan - soon to be seen in a US re-telling of The Bionic Woman - is of little use throughout). That said, it's still an entertaining British comedy with laughs a-plenty and brains where it counts; up top rather than between the legs. The pleasing lack of bobbing man-arse is just a bonus.

More:  Comedy  Sex
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