October 4, 2014
"Walking On Sunshine" is almost exactly just like "Mamma Mia". There is a reunion of friends and an upcoming wedding. Both have its generous dose of cheesy comedy, light drama, summer romance, flash mob dancing and a whole lot of popcorn fun. However in "Walking", we are brought to Italy instead of Greece. Instead of ABBA songs, we have big pop hits of the 1980s from various artists.
After her graduation from college, Taylor meets up with her sister Maddie and their good friends in the beautiful beach town of Puglia, Italy. Maddie, who recently just broke up with her older jerk boyfriend Doug, suddenly announces her intentions to marry a guy whom she just met five weeks ago. Maddie's fiance turns out to be Rafa, the same guy Taylor had a hot summer fling with three years ago. Now the plot thickens.
I confess that I grew up as a big fan of 1980's pop music, and I knew every song used in this film by heart. They even made it easier for me and everyone in the theater to sing along to the songs by flashing the lyrics as subtitles -- fantastic idea! Each song I hear being sung gave me a smile on my face. I also enjoyed those cheesy scenes where the characters dressed up in iconic 80s-music video costumes, which sure brought back memories of when MTV still showed music videos.
I thought the choices of the songs were quite apt for the situation in which they were played. Some songs just established the events, like "Holiday", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", or "White Wedding". But there were some songs where the lyrics fit the conversation between the characters perfectly for the situation, like "Don't You Want Me", "Faith" or "If I Could Turn Back Time". You will also get to hear hits by Bananarama, Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis, the Bangles, Duran Duran, Wham! and of course, Katrina and the Waves.
I did not know any of the actors playing the main love triangle in the film, but they were a perky attractive bunch of young actors and actually did quite well within the limits of their roles. Hannah Arterton plays the serious practical sister Taylor. Ms. Arterton is not as elegant as her real-life sister Gemma, but she is quite cute. Anabel Scholey plays her ditzy, hopelessly romantic sister Maddie. Guilio Berruti plays the handsome Italian Raf, the guy caught between the sisters.
The only actress I recognized is pop artist Leona Lewis, who was in there as one of the girls in the gang. She looked exotic and sultry, but she did not really get to do much. They also took some inspiration from "Pitch Perfect" and cast a "Fat Amy"-type sassy overweight girl as the sisters' best friend Lil in the person of Katy Brand. She is frank, brassy and such a lively presence onscreen. Greg Wise plays the sleazy ex-boyfriend Doug with his naughty European rascally charm.
Perfection in their acting is not really the most important thing here for the actors, nor is their singing ability. The filmmakers Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini want to take us along on an entertaining Italian summer beach romp and provided us the perfect mixtape of 1980s pop music to bask in. They seemed to have a lot of fun doing this film and that was the only point, and this bright sunshiny fun definitely reflects to the audience. This was such an enjoyable, feel-good movie to watch. 7/10.