Janice Beard: 45 wpm

In the world of movies, certain people have quirky characteristics that make them especially unique. If these people existed in the real world, they would quickly succumb to a variety of horrible deaths by the people around them. Movies need to walk a fine line between presenting somebody as quirky, and somebody as just plain annoying. Very Annie Mary, another recent film from across the pond failed this miserably, as does Janice Beard: 45 wpm, a new unfunny comedy. There are exactly three funny moments in Janice Beard; the beginning, a scene with two strangers and Janice's mother, and the end, where something happens that the audience probably wished happened at the beginning.

Janice (Eileen Walsh, Miss Julie, The Van) is moving to London to try to raise money for her mother. Since Janice's birth, her mother suffered from agoraphobia. To help her mother, Janice made up fantastic stories of her adventures outside. This permeated into Janice's life, where she imagined herself in South America, Iran, and working for MI5. Everywhere she went, Janice made videotapes and sent them to her mother. This sounds cute, but writer/director Clare Kilner and co-writer Ben Hopkins (Simon Magus) quickly go wrong. When they make her quirky, that means she is not 'attractive,' dresses garishly, is clumsy, has huge teeth, and is a self-proclaimed idiot.

Her new job is in the typing pool at an auto manufacturer. They are gearing up to launch a new model, so everybody is on edge. Her supervisor Julia (Best, The Pavilion) is everything that she is not; successful, beautiful, and full of poise. Because of Janice's oddness, she cannot seem to adjust to work. She has trouble falling into the normal routines that all the other women in the typing pool fall do. She is also falling for Sean (Rhys Ifans, The Shipping News, Little Nicky), the mail boy. His intentions are much more malicious. He is using Janice's stupidity for his own ends. But since this is a 'comedy,' Sean will slowly begin falling for Janice. There is a plot here involving corporate espionage, but it's pointless going into it because in the end, Janice will pull through and save the day.

Kilner does nothing to make the viewer stop from wanting to attack Janice with sharp objects. Her habit of stretching the truth nears the level of pathological lying. She does so in every situation, probably as some defense mechanism. She doesn't have a lot of friends, so she hopes to ingratiate herself or impress others. This does not work, and it's difficult to fathom why nobody else can see through her strange stories. It is the Janice character that ruins this entire movie. If she were a normal person, this would be a routine sub-par movie. With her, it sinks to new depths.

Mongoose Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 18 minutes, Not Rated, but probably a PG or PG-13.

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