I picked Walking on Sunshine as my Shitfest Winter 2015 entry because every time they showed the trailer in the lead up to its theatrical release I felt physically sick and started twitching. I had to repeat the calming mantra, “the IPC loves me, the IPC loves me,” over and over just to stay in my seat long enough for the actual film to start… and bitch there was a lot of chanting because they showed this trailer continuously for weeks.
So the question has to be… was it a worthy choice? Was it as shitty as the trailer made it look? Read on to find out… [SPOILERS THROUGHOUT]
Walking on Bullshit (2014)
Walking on Bullshit Sunshine opens with a beautiful couple frollicking in the sun on the beach… and punching each other in the arse… as I know all lovers do. We then discover that he is Raf (Giulio Berruti), a Puglia native and she is Taylor (Hannah Arterton – the younger even less talented sister of Gemma Arterton) a girl on her last summer holiday before she goes off to university. They have fallen in love over the summer and Raf wants Taylor to stay with him and give up her studies but since Taylor isn’t a complete idiot (or at least we don’t think she is at this stage) she decides that giving up her whole future for a bloke she barely knows at the age of what can’t be much more than twenty is a bad idea and leaves anyway.
Three years (I think) later Taylor’s sister, Maddie (Annabel Scholey) invites her back to Puglia for a surprise holiday. For some reason Taylor decides to wear a sundress and ankle boots for the journey… highlighting just the first in a series of horrendous fashion choices that continue throughout the film. Whoever was in charge of the costumes for this film honestly needs to be shot in the street.
Anyway, it’s a musical so the journey is sound tracked by Taylor belting out Madonna’s Holiday surrounded by people from every possible nation. Look… a Sari! Unfortunately the choice for the token African character is to go with the happy “Africa face” as per Get Him to the Greek, which is a precursor to the fact that stereotypes are going to abound here. It is also an indication that Arterton can’t dance or sing for shit… so it’s tough to know why she was cast but hey ho… onwards and upwards.
Taylor meets Maddie at the apartment she is renting and it is ah-mazing! God knows how she is affording it though since no one seems to have any kind of job nor is there any indication that they come from a wealthy family. Maybe she’s been hooking on the side. Also staying with Maddie is her and Taylor’s lifelong friend, Lil (Katy Brand). Lil is an overweight, sexy romance novel writer and a bit of a man-eating bitch… which is the laziest possible characterisation for a fat female character you can go with but I think we’ve already figured out that subtlety is not Walking on Sunshine‘s strong suit. Lil is also about twenty years older than the other two so it’s a bit confusing how they all met and spent so much time hanging out but they’re definitely all excited to see each other. They decide to express this through the medium of I’m Your Venus while waving their tits about and groping each other. I don’t have any sisters so I’m not sure if having sapphic leanings towards your siblings is normal. Maybe it is. Gals with sisters please let me know in the comments. Unfortunately Scholey and Brand also can’t sing or dance so the whole thing is a hot mess.
Once the girls are all reacquainted, Maddie announces that the reason she has summoned Taylor is that she is getting married to a bloke she has met in Puglia who she has known for five weeks. Taylor is unsurprisingly dubious since it seems Maddie has a history of falling in love very fast and making a bit of a dick of herself. Maddie uses this as a segue to ask Taylor if she has a bloke on the go, mentioning that guy she was keen on the last time in Puglia. Taylor is obviously still totally into Raf but bizarrely she has never mentioned him by name to her own sister.
And then Maddie’s fiance turns up and lo and behold… it’s Raf! Who would have possibly guessed??? Now if you were Taylor what would you do? I think I probably would have mentioned that he was my ex but Taylor decides for both of them that they’re going to keep the whole thing under wraps and just pretend that they’ve never met. Something that carries on when Maddie introduces Taylor to her group of new best friends… you know the ones she has gotten so close to in five weeks… and shock horror they’re all the friends Taylor made on her first trip so now they all also have to pretend they don’t know her. One of these friends is Leona Lewis, which is interesting. For those who don’t know, Leona Lewis is a semi-successful winner of British X-Factor who looks like a cocker spaniel. Another one is a grotesque little Scotsman, called Mikey (Danny Kirrane) who is obviously going to end up with Lil because they’re both fat.
The next day Maddie decides to send Taylor with Raf to buy his wedding suit. It’s not generally the norm for a bride to send her sister with the groom to buy his wedding clothes but obviously some kind of situation has to be engineered for the former lovers to be alone together so suit shopping it is. It’s obvious that there is still a strong attraction between Raf and Taylor and I mean… who could blame her. Walking on Sunshine might be the worst musical ever made but Giulio Berruti is unnaturally beautiful. He looks like something that was flung down to earth by accident by the gods of pretty. If I were a single woman and I had a sister I would probably throw her under a bus to get five minutes in a dark room with this.
Taylor isn’t one to get swept away by her feelings though and she does her best to shut down any possible hint that their romance might rekindle. This causes a lot of tension between the two of them and it all gets a bit awks.
While that’s going on Maddie discovers that her ex, Doug (Greg Wise) has turned up having found out that Maddie is engaged and wants her back. Greg is quite a lot older than Maddie and is supposed to be a bit of a playboy. It’s the kind of role you’d want to be played by someone like Hugh Grant because you want the character to be a little sleazy but also kind of sexy. Wise on the other hand just goes for purely sleazy, which is highlighted by the fact that he spends most of his rendition of Don’t You Want Me Baby? looking up Maddie’s skirt. He is so repulsive that it’s hard to imagine that Maddie, despite being a bit flighty and silly, would ever have been involved with him but lo and behold she agrees to have one more lunch with him before her marriage.
When everyone gets back to the villa, Raf is a snit that it seems can only be improved by swimming. Fortunately for him he is wearing his swim shorts under his jeans… as you do. Leona and her Italian boyfriend are gossiping at the pool about Taylor’s past with Raf but when Maddie asks them what they are talking about the only lie Leona can come up with is that she’s pregnant. Imagine if it turned out that she actually is pregnant at the end???
While Maddie sneaks off to lunch with Doug she sends the others to the tomato festival on their mopeds, which is an opportunity not only to belt out Walking on Sunshine but also for some very unsafe driving, especially considering that Leona is fake-pregnant.
The tomato festival is clearly the opportunity for some sexy fun, although why Lil has brought a supersoaker with her is anyone’s guess. Raf and Taylor end up alone together sensually mashing tomatoes into each other’s faces before eventually heading to the beach to wash off the mess and singing Eternal Flame to each other. Although Taylor’s expression makes her look more like she’s burning because of thrush than an eternal love.
While that’s going on Maddie is having lunch with Doug in a dress that looks like it was made out of a pair of washed out nylon nickers from 1973 and manages to make a very slim girl look like a heifer. Doug is adamant that he wants Maddie back but Maddie claims that she has found herself through Raf (and a thousand feminists weeped) and she’s completely done with Doug, even if he is now finally ready to commit.
That night the girls spring a surprise 80’s themed hen party on Maddie, who the minute this is announced immediately magically guesses that Raf is Taylor’s ex. The topless Italian man is out of the bag! Both of them assure her that they have no feelings for each other anymore though and the party is AWN!
Of course the backtrack for the party is Girls Just Want to Have Fun, which is paired with a lot of crotch grabbing, skirt flicking and twitching, which is apparently what passes for dancing in this movie. Taylor is finding it hard to get into the fun though because she can’t stop thinking about Raf. And Raf, who is dressed as Adam Ant ala Prince Charming is in the same boat although that doesn’t seem to stop his mates from tying him to a tree and leaving him for the night.
When Maddie stumbles home she finds repulsive Doug in her bed with an engagement ring… will she or won’t she? It seems she won’t although she comes close. *Shudder*. Maybe she isn’t that into Raf after all!
Of course, as it would only happen in the movies because no one in real life is this stupid, the stag and hen parties are the night before the wedding and the emotional stress causes Taylor to run off to the airport with the intention of escaping the whole situation. Having sexually assaulted several pilots, Lil also happens to be at the airport so she manages to talk Taylor down and together they rush to the wedding but they’re not the only ones rushing because Raf has just been rescued from his naked tree prison by nuns.
So now the wedding can go ahead with the ugliest wedding dress/bridesmaid dress combination I have ever seen in my life. Once again Maddie looks like a sack of potatoes and it’s impossible to imagine that she would have actually chosen this dress for her wedding. While Taylor looks like she’s raided a four year old’s Sunday best outfits.
Of course someone has to stop the wedding and this time it’s actually Maddie who realises that maybe she’s more in love with the idea of love than she actually is with Raf. Probably the first smart thing she has ever done in her life. Raf storms off, Taylor goes after him and sings him Turn Back Time so that he’ll forgive her for basically denying that she has feelings for him and then they kiss.
In order to avoid any awkwardness the film skips over the bit where Taylor, Maddie and Raf have a bare knuckle boxing match over how they have all completely fucked each other over and go straight to the final beach hangout where Taylor and Raf are together, Maddie is all excited about being an independent woman, Leona is really pregnant (who saw that coming) and Lil hits on Mikey (another total surprise). The final scene involves Lil and Maddie strapping Doug into a harness that drags you behind a boat attached to a parachute. I would have thought there would be some kind of consent form… but what do I know.
So what did we learn?
- You don’t need to be able to dance, sing or act to star in a musical
- Giulio Berruti = hot
- It’s totally not weird to fondle your sister’s breasts
- It’s fine to go on a date with your ex the day before your wedding
- A family can survive everyone having shagged the same bloke
- Fat people should stick to fucking each other
- Giving up your whole life for some guy when you’re under twenty-five is always a good idea
- If Mark Ferguson or Lior Ozan ever offers to dress you, run… run fast
- To rekindle your romance just smash a tomato into your partner’s face