As the credits roll on this dreadful film, Labrinth invites you to ‘express yourself’. So I will. This is one of the most woeful, formulaic, cynically opportunistic movies that I have ever had the misfortune to see. It is an orgy of cliché, predictable plot and wooden acting. Please don’t waste your time and money going to see this rubbish.
Shania (Lenora Crichlow) and Lisa (Lily James) are rivals in the 200m and team-mates in the 100m relay, revving up for the 2012 Olympics in London…Actually I take that back…they are revving up for a fictional World Championship. There is no mention of the word ‘Olympics’ after the International Olympic Committee shrewdly refused to endorse this monstrosity – they have a reputation to uphold after all. UK Athletics has no such qualms. It is interesting to note too that their sponsors Adidas are everywhere in this film – no Nikes or Reeboks in sight.
Anyway, after overcoming various hurdles (and montage after dull montage) the team wins gold for Great Britain. Oh yeah, spoiler alert. One newspaper, I was surprised to see, has labelled the film ‘brilliantly inspirational’ but in reality the only thing it inspires is a desire to run far, far away from the cinema in a personal best time.
There are a couple of redeeming features – some nice panoramic shots of London and a dog named Linford – but generally speaking Fast Girls lurches from disappointment to disappointment. There are no stand-out performances but I’m disinclined to pan the acting when they’ve been fed such terrible lines: ‘It’s heavy,’ Lisa comments on her father’s ‘Olympic’ Gold Medal – a wonderfully obvious metaphor for the weight of expectation she is burdened by.
At one point the coach, expounding on the superiority of the American team, says ‘they have got silk. What we have isn’t even polyester,’ which brings me nicely on to how recycled the script is. It tries, unsuccessfully, to replicate Bend it like Beckham to an alarmingly exact extent. It has a pretty white girl who has a rivalry with a team-mate from a more marginalized background. Both covet the affections of a pretty boy ex-athlete whose career was ended by dodgy knees. Whether this is boring mimicry or wholesale plagiarism isn’t really the point.
The point is that the film is entirely unoriginal and uninspired. It was made to make a quick buck out of the Olympics and nothing more. To say it is slow out of the blocks doesn’t quite cover it – it just never turns up. Don’t see it. Just don’t.