Kate (Jenny Seagrove), Liz (Sally Phillips) and Cassie (Kelly Preston) are mourning the loss of their best friend. They all grew up together, but have gone their separate ways and are all living very separate lives. However, what they soon realise that their lost friend is going to bring them all together one last time.
That’s because their friend’s dying wish was to get them to recreate their inter-railing travels across Europe as they did in their youth. There’s a catch though – they have to take their friend’s teenage daughter, Maddie (Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips) with them.
Off The Rails is a comedy drama and the feature directorial debut of Jules Williamson with a script by Jordan Waller. Luckily, the film knows exactly what it is and the feel-good story of friendship and lost youth will resonate with many. However, there are some issues depending on how willing you are to connect with the story and believe in the characters.
Firstly, there’s a certain feeling that director Williamson obviously wanted to create; that of a whimsical whistle stop tour of Europe punctuated with nostalgia for those who were teenagers in the 80’s. The trouble is that despite the great cast, it seems that their names are not enough to make the audience believe that they are life long friends. Least of all Kelly Preston who while putting in a good performance, feels out of place.
There’s also the matter of the soundtrack and for fans of Blondie then you may be in luck. However, even for the most diehard Blondie fan it may start to grate. This is because as the soundtrack plays their greatest hits every five minutes, it may distract some fans as they start to wonder what they’re going to play next and what’s been left out.
This is particularly distracting from the plot and noticeable when the soundtrack seems to run out of songs and repeat one from earlier.
Off The Rails certainly knows what kind of audience it wants to be and that may its downfall. Because it all feels like a rather cynical attempt at making its audience connect with the characters by blasting them with a nostalgic soundtrack while throwing scenes of enforced fun in their faces.
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