From the award-winning team behind the hit series; “The Office". 70’s England is in full swing as three outcast friends find themselves drinking, joking, fighting and chasing girls, while dreaming of escape from their blue-collar hometown of Cemetery Junction. Freddie (Christian Cooke) is a salesman suddenly thrown onto the fast track when he gains the attention of his boss, Mr. Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes). Torn between a prior life of partying with his friends (Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan) and the promise of a brighter future, life gets more complicated when the bosses daughter becomes the focus of Freddie’s affection. Also starring Ricky Gervais and Emily Watson.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the duo behind the BBC's Office
, travel back to 1973 for this serio-comic coming-of-age story. Inspired by Gervais's Reading hometown, Cemetery Junction is the type of small-minded burg Freddie Taylor (Christian Cooke, likable and attractive) longs to escape. Fortunately, he receives a job offer from Mr. Kendrick (a smarmy Ralph Fiennes), leading to a gig selling life insurance. His best mates, the goofy Snork (Jack Doolan) and rebellious Bruce (Tom Hughes, the film's true star), can't imagine anything more dull, but Freddie, who wants to travel the world, sees it as his way out. Kendrick pairs Freddie with Mike (Matthew Goode, great value), who proves that the nice-guy approach loses sales (Emily Watson shines as Kendrick's browbeaten wife). While Freddie pines for the boss's daughter (and Mike's fiancée), Julie (Felicity Jones), Bruce works with Freddie's father, Len (Gervais), in a factory, and tangles with the law (refreshingly, the local sergeant has a sympathetic side). If things end as one might expect, that doesn't make Cemetery Junction
any less enjoyable, but it does help to explain why it didn't receive a U.S. theatrical release. By focusing on a young Brit anxious to find his place in the world, the directors provide a companion piece to pictures like Starter for 10
and An Education
. Familiar or not, it's still superior to most mainstream comedies… including a few with which Gervais has been involved. A soundtrack filled with energizing glam-rock classics further elevates their efforts. --Kathleen C. Fennessy