Starring: Annabel Scholey, Giulio Berruti, Hannah Arterton
Director: Max Giwa, Dania Pasquini
Running Time: 97 mins
Walking On Sunshine is a British film about a woman who returns to the Italian coast three years after a passionate summer of love, to attend the wedding of her sister and the man she was once deeply in love with.
This is a terrible, terrible movie. I was no big fan of the original Mamma Mia!, but this is a pretty lazy and shameless ripoff, with very little in the way of genuinely enjoyable holiday entertainment, cheap musical numbers, a tedious story and only a few laughs that are more often than not at the movie’s own expense.
There are a lot of things that are infuriating about Walking On Sunshine, but perhaps most of all is the music. The weird thing is that I love pretty much all of these songs, with the movie playing some of the biggest hits of the ’80s, from Wham! to Madonna, The Human League, Katrina and the Waves and much, much more.
So, for this movie to take so many classic pop songs and turn them into unbearable musical numbers that feel more like listening to nails on chalkboard is frankly astonishing. The singing here is fantastically average, and the dancing is hilariously bad, with terrible choreography that sees the actors almost always out of time with one another and the music.
Now, it’s easy to say that this is just meant to be a fun holiday movie which is just about normal people enjoying themselves on the sunbaked Italian coast. They’re not professional dancers or singers, and the musical numbers are just a bit of fun to get the crowd going.
I can see all of those points, but the fact of the matter is that Walking On Sunshine is not a fun movie. It’s boring. If it had a modicum of fun-loving storytelling to it where the romance didn’t feature characters at one another’s throats and so many random musical breaks, then yes, I might have been able to enjoy the movie.
But given how boring and often exhausting the film is to watch, the moments where the characters inexplicably break out into song just feels like more nails in the coffin for a truly tedious viewing experience. Musical numbers are meant to bring life to the party, not kill off any sense of fun that was left.
I might say that singing along to these ’80s hits was the biggest pleasure of Walking On Sunshine. But that’s no praise to the movie itself, and I might as well just listen to a playlist or record with these songs on instead of putting myself through an hour and a half of painfully average filmmaking here.
Somewhere beneath all the ridiculous musical antics is some form of a story, but it’s so generic and predictable that there’s no point bothering to follow it. The characters are bland as anything and so are the performances, with the most entertaining person on screen proving to be Greg Wise, who plays the effective villain of the film as he stalks his soon-to-be-married ex-girlfriend.
And all of it just comes across as a cold-hearted attempt to cash in on the success of jukebox musicals like Mamma Mia! Don’t get me wrong, I hated that film too, but such lazy, bland filmmaking as what Walking On Sunshine throws up is at times even more unbearable to sit through.
So, despite its excellent track listing, there’s pretty much nothing good to say about Walking On Sunshine. A tedious, pointless, bland and cold-hearted musical with little talent in front of or behind the camera, it’s a waste of an hour and a half of your time, and that’s why I’m giving it a 4.7 overall.