Reviews: Film with uncomfortable absence of laughs

Slaughterhouse Rulez
Slaughterhouse Rulez

SLAUGHTERHOUSE RULEZ (15) 

There are few tricks and no treats in writer-director Crispian Mills's painfully outdated horror comedy set at an elite seat of learning for future prime pinisters in leafy Gloucestershire.

From the moment Michael Sheen wafts into view as the school's money-grabbing headmaster, who forgets that girls have been permitted into the hallowed halls, Slaughterhouse Rulez goes into special measures.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost co-star as misfits at the centre of the copious blood-letting but this is definitely not another instalment of the duo's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy comprising Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End.

They share one brief and superfluous scene, which is notable for an uncomfortable absence of laughs.

JULIET, NAKED (15)

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked is a sweet, reserved romantic comedy set in a sleepy English coastal town, which revels in the power of music to anchor our emotions to a specific person or time. Jesse Peretz's film is powered by an appealingly scruffy performance from Ethan Hawke as a reclusive singer-songwriter, who walked out of a gig 30 years ago and hasn't been seen since. He reeks of regret in gently paced scenes of bad parenting and sparks pleasing on-screen chemistry with Rose Byrne as the dissatisfied thirtysomething, who forges an unexpected bond with her boyfriend's musical idol. It's a preposterous set-up for a love triangle that reaches a crescendo of implausibility when Hawke performs an impromptu rendition of The Kinks' Waterloo Sunset. Juliet, Naked is unlikely to become a defining cinematic soundtrack to anyone's life but Peretz's film doesn't hit many bum notes en route to a predictable resolution.