Reviewer's Rating 5 out of 5  
Saving Grace (2000)

Almost every new British comedy invokes Ealing somewhere in its marketing, yet most don't even boast a half-decent script, never mind any similarity to the great comic powerhouse. Fortunately, the ghosts of Ealing directors and actors will be grinning in the sky when they sneak a long-distance glimpse of "Saving Grace".

This is a film where, unusually in Britain these days, the script has been worked on to great effect so that the timing of the comedy is just right, the punchlines are delivered in all the proper places, and there is breathing space in between the bouts of increasing comic madness (thus also ensuring good characterisation).

Most surprising of all is that the co-writer (and co-producer) is Craig Ferguson, a task he performed to much slighter effect in "The Big Tease", a film whose dimensions were strictly single. Ferguson, as a writer and performer (he also stars here, alongside Brenda Blethyn), displays a new gift for poignancy and sadness, emotions which help ground an otherwise wonderfully potty outing in everyday realism.

In a high-speed romp which has enough eccentricity and edge to go global, Ferguson is the well-meaning gardener who works for a decent Cornish lady (Blethyn), now sobbing her way through the day because of the discovery that her just-dead husband had not been quite what he seemed. To avoid financial ruin, widow plus gardener join forces to grow cannabis. Smile at the light show they inadvertently put on for the community when they're beavering away in the greenhouse, collapse with mirth as they crease up with laughter on the beach. Even the cameo characters - like the postman - are there for hilarious comic effect.

End Credits

Director: Nigel Cole

Writer: Mark Crowdy

Stars: Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson, Martin Clunes, Diana Quick, Leslie Phillips, Tcheky Karyo, John Fortune, Ken Campbell, Denise Coffey, Phyllida Law

Genre: Comedy

Length: 111 minutes

Cinema: 2000

Country: UK

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