Dusty and Me (2016) ***

September 24th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Betsan Morris Evans | Writer: Rob Isted | Cast: Iain Glen, Luke Newberry, Genevieve Gaunt, Ben Batt, Alan Bentley | UK Comedy Drama |94′

This innocuous enough caper and its spot-on 1970s styling will certainly resonate with the 50 plus crowd, but not sure who it’s aimed at – certainly not adults, but maybe adults with pre- teens?. In the opening scenes Ben Batt channels Reece Shearsmith (League of Gentleman) but Dusty and Me is not *that* sort of comedy – more a comedy of errors – the error being its distinct lack of teeth for a shaggy dog story, The dog in question is actually a Greyhound.

Derek ‘Dusty’ Springfield (Newberry) is a bright working class scholar who’s just broken up from his final term at boarding school in Leeds. Meeting him on the school’s gravel drive is his Sheepskin-jacketed older brother Little Eddie (Batt) in the family Jag. Hopefully his Oxbridge results will jettison him into pastures more promising than the schematic one that lies ahead back home: Chuntering old dad down the pub, mum is a modern day, toned down version of George & Mildred’s Yootha Joyce (you know where I’m coming from, if this was your era).

Footloose and fancy free awaiting the dreaded exam results, the disenfranchised Dusty befriends a Greyhound who runs like the wind, comically naming it Slapper, the two become close buddies. But then Dusty falls for the fragrant Chrissie (Genevieve Gaunt) who’s way out of his league – or so he thinks. The rest you can pretty much guess.

Dusty and Me is a heartwarming tale with a winning score of tunes from back in the day (there could have been a bit more TSOP), and a brash retro aesthetic that lovingly recreates a time when the blue Ford Capri was to die for along with loons, cheesecloth shirts, and scalloped collars. Any everyone spent their Friday night at ‘the pictures’. It’s a cheerful little family film – needing a bit more Vodka in its tonic. MT


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