|The plot of High Heels and Lowlifes is not the most original. And its dialogue has been heard in more than one film before. But it is the charming performances of Minnie Driver and Catherine McCormack which allow for an entertaining ninety minutes or so of slapstick comedy. Though the film gets all but ridiculous in spots (especially towards the end), watching two inept blackmailers try and make a group of bank robbers part with a few million pounds turns out to be a relatively amusing experience.|
High Heels is the epitome of a film without strings attached as viewers will undoubtedly finish the film in a good mood, yet forget most of what they saw within hours of departing the theater. This can be a blessing when a film is a particularly bad one (which this one is not), but it can also be a curse, as without word of mouth to recommend it, a film can languish at the box office because nobody knows about it or knows anybody who remembers seeing it. And since the experience overall is a rather short one (the film is about eighty minutes long without its credits), there isn’t a lot of substance one can take from the theater after seeing this film.
But as it’s a comedy with its feet firmly planted in that genre, it was probably not meant to be a life altering experience. With funnily evil villains and sweet yet clumsy heroines, this film floats along rather benignly, giving the audience entertainment without a great deal of conscience. Even the fact that the film is quite predictable (right down to its textbook ending), doesn’t hinder the film overly, as it’s not really long enough to allow one to form that sort of opinion. Driver and McCormack’s performances are also hilarious at times, so having a story that is worth a few deep belly laughs is a credit to the actresses.
Perhaps because of its international cast (Driver is British, McCormack is American), the humor in High Heels resembles more of a mix of humor from both continents, rather than strictly British comedy. Though strangely, the villains probably can’t be pegged as either American or British themed characters, because they’re all just too strange. In a role that quite distances himself from some of his more high-brow performances, Michael Gambon plays “Kerrigan,” a mid-level crime boss operating out of London. Gambon plays the role with an equal mix of humor and immorality, making his scenes some of the funniest of the film.
The performances in this film really are quite good across the board and though every scene isn’t the funniest ever created and despite the predictable script, the film is still enjoyable because of the comedic talent of the actors. There are a few scenes in the film where the comedy doesn’t click immediately, but if the film had been more universally funny from start to finish, it might have received a larger theatrical release in the United States. But it still remains a film that will appeal to both sides of the ocean. In particular, many of the jokes that insult the English will probably play especially well for audiences in the states as Americans never tire of making fun of our cousins across the pond.
High Heels and Lowlifes is the type of comedy that may go unnoticed on most prospective viewers’ radar screens, but that is a strangely entertaining film if one is partial to slapstick comedy and character ridiculousness. Much of the fun comes from the convincing friendship between the two lead actresses and while the film isn’t the most hilarious one ever created, it still packs a good amount of laughs worth laughing out loud to. If anything, this film is something you can watch and enjoy and then be done with, without any sort of “lesson” following you around to tax your brain. Slapstick tomfoolery and verbal one-liners fill the screenplay and should result in a pleasurable experience for most viewers.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.