July 22, 2021
Kelly Preston’s last performance is a formulaic film about three fiftysomething pals talk menopause and midlife crises on a Euro rail trip
Off the Rails review – Blondie-powered interrailing comedy is a feelgood trainwreck
“Featuring the music of Blondie” is how this aspiring “feelgood film of the summer” announces itself, though it’s not obvious why the band would license virtually all their major earworms to this peppy but entirely formulaic comedy-drama. Clearly, the producers are looking to rival the Mamma Mia! effect – though Off the Rails is not a true musical, with the characters themselves only occasionally BREAKING out a bit of Blondie on a limited basis as they embark on their Euro rail trip. But the net effect of Debbie Harry popping up at 10-second intervals on the soundtrack to top up levels of ironic sass is to highlight how that quality is in generally short supply in the script.
Dreaming is the ditty fiftysomething pals Liz (Sally Phillips), Kate (Jenny Seagrove) and Cassie (Kelly Preston, in her final role) find themselves singing along to at the funeral of their friend Anna. Outside the church, her mother (a cameoing Judi Dench, manfully shovelling up a dreadfully written eulogy) gives them Anna’s bequest: Interrail tickets to reprise a trip the group made in their 20s, with a plus one for her teenage daughter Maddie (Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips). They have a five-day deadline to get down to Mallorca to catch “God’s disco ball”, a twice-yearly occurrence when the sun shines through a cathedral’s stained-glass window – which they missed last time.
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