School for Seduction
- Kelly Brook as Sophia Rosselini
- Emily Woolf as Kelly
- Jessica Johnson as Donna
- Dervla Kirwan as Clare
- Margi Clarke as Irene
- Neil Stuke as Craig
- Tim Healy as Derek
- Daymon Britton as Mark
A raucous comedy that while predictable and nothing newfangled, School for Seduction is carried along by the playing of its cast and some good laughs. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of the feel-good Brit comedies it tries to emulate, but it is a good watch for an hour or so.
In the opening, the dazzling Italian beauty Sophia Rosselini leaves her husband and catches a plane to England. She stops in Newcastle where she sets up a number of classes in the art of seduction in a fancy function room. Her advertisement appeals to a group of ladies, whose love lives are complicated and slightly stale. The ladies are the hard-working Kelly, her mouthy sister Donna, good friend Irene and businesswoman Clare who despite differences, share experiences with men who don’t take them seriously or pay them no attention. Kelly is struggling with two jobs and raising a young daughter, loud Donna wants something more out of life, Irene feels a lack of passion with her husband Derek and Clare has been promoted, but her loutish man is too busy showcasing his new car to notice. At first, the girls are skeptical of what they can possibly learn from these lessons from the impossibly glamorous teacher. But as Sophia is an understanding and composed woman, her talks in how to take control of their lives, feel sexy and through. Little by little, the sexy and inspiring advice of Sophia gives Kelly, Donna, Irene and Clare something of a new lease on life. With their tips and lessons from Sophia, each of the ladies begins to gain a real sense of worth about their lives and start making decisions regarding things, primarily the men. Yet Sophia has a secret that could very well undermine her teaching of the girls and threatens to be exposed.
Sue Heel directs with a nice touch for the material that rises School for Seduction up a few notches as she knows how to direct a scene with warmth and amusement. One of the good things that she does is make the main characters pretty relatable and ordinary, it adds a sensitive side to the film as these women could be anyone and the audience can clearly relate to them because of this. The raunchy humour from her script is frequently a delight in School for Seduction, with gusto provided by the script. Hilarity ensues as the girls grow and some of the antics that arise are pretty hysterical to watch, like Donna chucking out her would be man after he offends her, out of his own house naked just as his parents come home. Nothing particularly revelatory or original happens and sometimes it gets a bit wayward with what it is trying to be. Plus, the sub-plot of Sophia’s past and the mystery is a bit of a damp squib in what is mainly a very fun movie that carries something of an inspiring lesson for ladies. Self-image and worth are brought out in amusing yet surprisingly touching ways that make up for the shortcomings in the film. The movie itself attempts to capture the good heart of movies like The Full Monty and Calendar Girls, and while it never reaches those lofty heights, it is still quite entertaining fare. Some might say that the film bashes men in the way that they are portrayed, although I didn’t see School for Seduction like that. I instead thought it portrayed a set of men who just didn’t seem to understand the women with them and where in for an amusing surprise as they begin to display assertiveness. The Italian influenced score is a pleasant touch, although it lays it on a bit too thick in some stretches.
Kelly Brook does surprisingly well with a role that is mainly to capitalize on her curvaceous figure and sex appeal. And while she isn’t the most talented actress there is, she does bring life and some impressive touches to the role of the mysterious Sophia that show she clearly has ability. And there is vivaciousness to the beautiful Brook that is most eye-catching. The main group of ladies who learn a thing or two about themselves and love along the way are played with naturalness by the cast, in particular the stand outs are Dervla Kirwan as the initially shy Clare and Jessica Johnson as the brash but vulnerable Donna. The menfolk play second fiddle to the great ladies of the piece, though all three of the main men( Neil Stuke, Tim Healy and Daymon Britton) each bring something out as the men who can’t quite understand the ladies in their lives. Playing probably the nicest guy of the bunch, Daymon Britton does charm and hilarity very persuasively.
School for Seduction is not the best comedy you are ever likely to see, but its heart has a resonance that will no doubt leave many smiling. Plus, the cast really sells the film throughout and causes it to be a hoot in many places.