Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging



Opens: Friday, July 25 (U.K.) (Paramount)

LONDON -- British movies have a history of exporting incorrigibly phony portraits of life in the country, from village green coppers to plucky wartime Cockneys to country house families. Gurinder Chadha's "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging" adds to the pile with its fantasy snapshot of life as a 14-year-old girl in modern England. Based on a popular series of books by Louise Rennison that reflects the diary of a boy-crazy teenager named Georgia, the film is aimed squarely at 14-year-old females. With the boys said to be 16 and the girls 14, it all seems suspiciously pervy, but maybe not to 14-year-old girls.

The film lacks the wit and drama that might pitch it beyond the target demographic, though judging from what makes the girls squirm in the film, it might not succeed even there. Boxoffice will depend on marketing heavily to loyal fans of the books.

Georgia (Georgia Groome) and her pals live in the polite English seaside town of Eastbourne, where dads have good jobs with caring bosses and moms have nice homes. When one divorces, she quickly sets up her own organic fruit and vegetable market.

They're good at school, these girls, though they seldom talk about it. They have no money worries and there's never a thought about what's going on outside their tiny, well-off world. It's all about boys. The entire plot hinges on the attempts by Georgia and best-friend Jas (Eleanor Tomlinson) to snag hunky fraternal twins Robbie (Aaron Johnson) and Tom (Sean Bourke), who have just moved to town.

Relentlessly cheery without a shred of realism, the film breezes along with Georgia's chatterbox narration filled with invented slang that probably reads better than it sounds in dialogue. Angus is the family cat. Thongs are what girls wear to please boys but lead to "vulgaria." Perfect snogging is making out, which the film steadfastly insists is all these prematurely nubile youngsters get up to. Hmmn.

Production: Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.
Cast: Georgia Groome, Eleanor Tomlinson, Aaron Johnson, Sean Bourke, Alan Davies, Karen Taylor.
Director: Gurinder Chadha.
Screenwriters: Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges, Will McRobb & Chris Viscardi.
Producers: Gurinder Chadha, Lynda Obst.
Executive producer: Scott Aversano.
Director of photography: Richard Pope.
Production designer: Nick Ellis.
Music: Joby Talbot.
Costume designer: Jill Taylor.
Editors: Martin Walsh, Justin Krish.
Rated PG-13, 100 minutes.