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431. Juliet, Naked; movie review

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Title : 431. Juliet, Naked; movie review
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Cert 15
98 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong language

I will always have a soft spot for Nick Hornby because of my love for his debut novel, Fever Pitch, which summed up football fandom better than any book.
His follow-up Hi-Fidelity which was much better than the movie adaptation has more in common with Juliet, Naked.
This time, I haven't read the source material but the common thread is Hornby's own fanatical love of music outside of the mainstream.
It stars Chris O'Dowd as a lecturer who spends more time devoted to his music hero (Ethan Hawke) than his girlfriend (Rose Byrne).
This guy is the personification of music geek with his own man-cave which is decorated with posters and photos and where Skype conversations are had with other nerds.
The consequence of his idolatry of a singer/songwriter called Tucker Crowe (Hawke) is the realisation of his girlfriend of the flaws in their relationship.
However, she could not possibly predict the love which replaces it.
Juliet, Naked (nobody gets their kit off) is a whimsy but Hornby has drawn some typically interesting characters to go along with a frothy inoffensive plot.
Byrne draws empathy nicely with a combination of self-mocking ditzy alongside a frustration at a life which is slipping away.
Meanwhile, Hawke is neatly understated as the musician who has disappeared from centre stage but still has to live with the excesses of the past in the shape of wives, girlfriends and children in far-flung places.
Indeed, Tucker Crowe is so mysterious that his fans, including O'Dowd's geek, create their own theories about what has happened to him.
In the world of the internet, this seems a tad far-fetched. It is not as if he has changed his name and is living in Greenland.
Nevertheless, the collision of washed-up American rocker and English Rose is intriguing for both of them (and her super-fan boyfriend).
And Jesse Peretz's film is a fine, easygoing if unchallenging movie.

Reasons to watch: A bit of easygoing whimsy
Reasons to avoid: Low on substance

Laughs: A couple of chuckles
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7/10

Director quote - Jesse Peretz: "Once upon a time, I would have music obsessions at an age-appropriate time in my life. Also, from being in a band with a guy who’s not entirely unlike Tucker Crowe, I felt like I had an insight of that sense that musicians, in particular, can have, the way their fans project their fantasies on to them. "

The big question - Is Fever Pitch still Nick Hornby's best work?

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