London Town | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

London Town

A mish-mash of genres hobbles this period coming-of-age tale set in 1978 London

Derrick Borte’s coming-of-age comedy is like some long-lost feel-good TV movie that manages to combine wholesome teens, wacky adventures and family drama with the socio-economic and political dramas of 1978 Britain and The Clash. Does it work? Not in the least, but the generous-hearted might simply be amused by the mish-mash of it all. Shay (Daniel Huttlestone) is a dutiful suburban kid who gets woke to punk and the wild world of London when he meets a manic pixie dream girl named Vivian (Nell Williams). She lets him listen to The Clash on her anachronistic Walkman, and browbeats him into being cool. Soon, the pair is off doing nutty things like stealing cabs (with Shay dressed as a woman) and — groan — organizing a musical benefit with The Clash. There is a slot for a film about a lonely kid who, like many in real life, finds meaning in a band; there’s another for a stardust-sprinkled teen romance with silly quests; and there’s still a third for illustrating the gritty but vibrant pushback against the impending Thatcher times. But to combine all these in this manner is ill-advised.

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