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1 review, 1 rating

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Jelly Dolly
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Kevin Thomas

"Either makes sense or don't bother."
2 stars

When watching James Woods pull a videotape out of his stomach you canít help but be drawn in. You know itís going somewhere interesting and most of the fun is trying to figure out where, how and why. But by the end of the film (with a little thought) most of these questions will be answered. Itís a shame then that Jelly Dolly forgot this, and decided to just build a lacklustre story around a collection of supremely fucked up visual sequences.

Audrey (Rachael Walton) is still inwardly traumatised by the miscarriage of her baby (cue lots of lazy visual metaphors, like visions of lost young girls that she never had) and is tiring of her snobbish boyfriend. When she meets her neighbours new conquest she starts falling in love and, as she does, she loses her grip on reality as it merges with her dreams. All coupled with sudden appearance of a ringpull in her navel and some oddly churning soil outside the pub.

It sounds messed up, and it is, but you canít escape the feeling that the messed up parts came before the storyline did. It reeks as though the director had a few ideas in her head and built a very flimsy story around them so she could put them all in the same film.

For starters, Audrey is such a shallow and boring character that you honestly couldnít care less whether she had a ringpull or a Telly-Tubby growing out of her stomach. She runs around acting like a careless seven year old (with all the charm of one too) whilst the director uses a load of tired and superficial clichťs to try and give her some depth. She fails, and Audrey remains an annoyingly unsympathetic woman. The cast surrounding her are not much better. Weird farmers, snobbish boyfriends and heartless cads all wander around trying far too hard to be the memorable element of such an odd tale and usually just end up being gratingly unconvincing.

It doesnít help either that the story is so utterly boring either. Girl gets bored, girl falls in love with someone else, girl runs off and credits roll. Itís an age old tale, and one that would certainly need innovation to be made fresh enough to sit through again, but it must be coherent innovation. All the crazy farmers, lost wallets and dead dogs in the world wonít change the fact that, if the story doesnít eventually make sense, youíre onto a loser. Even when the true, murderous nature of her belly-ringpull is revealed (itís a nice touch, but Jude Lawís tooth-gun was a far nastier dose of body-horror) itís only the fact that it surely to God must mean that the climax is coming soon that makes it interesting.

Itís a shame really, as the more surreal elements show a real talent from the director for subverting the world around the characters. Itís just a shame that there was no story to back them up or justify their use.

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originally posted: 11/17/04 00:05:56
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/08/06 jack silver styilzed - well directed , well acted and an intelligent feature , not for all. 5 stars
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  N/A (NR)



Directed by
  Susannah Gent

Written by
  Susannah Gent

  Rachael Walton
  Ashley Barnes
  Stuart Laing

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