The British comedy “For Love or Money” starts off mouth-puckering sour then jolts into tooth-aching sweetness. The film is at its best when it’s mean-spirited; its late turn toward humanity isn’t redeeming for either the characters or the viewers.
Mark (Robert Kazinsky) has had a crush on Connie (Samantha Barks) since childhood, and he thinks he’s finally won her heart. But then he discovers the truth: She wants him only for an expected windfall she’ll share with her real love, Johnny (Ed Speleers). Mark promptly decides to wreak revenge on his shallow-hearted fiancée with the help of best mate Tim (Tony Way) and Connie’s ex-friend Kendra (Rachel Hurd-Wood).
Writer-director Mark Murphy has made the fun-house version of beloved big-screen Britcoms, with a particular nod to the classic “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” but none of the grace. His script, written with Sabrina Lepage, is the cinematic equivalent of lad lit, and it lacks the depth of the genre’s best from authors like Nick Hornby.
“For Love or Money” declares itself “An Unromantic Comedy” at its outset, but it’s unclear who the audience for this movie is as it drags along. Is it those who laugh hysterically at its blackly cynical humor in the beginning? Or those who sigh in relief when its characters make an unfortunate turn into sympathetic people in its final act?
‘For Love or Money’
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Playing: Starts March 15, Galaxy Mission Grove, Riverside; also on VOD