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[DVD] Film Review: Walking on Sunshine (2014)

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Sometimes we just need an ’80s musical jukebox to have some holiday fun …

Cue the intro. Sunset by the glorious beach, and two lovers gazing lovingly at each other. This was the start of a (musical) romance for Taylor (Hannah Arterton) and her hunky holiday flame, Raf (Giulio Berruti). Belonging to two different worlds, fate simply wasn’t on their side at all. With Taylor’s real life still ahead of her, Taylor decides to leave Raf in Italy without any followup for the next three years.

Fast forward to the future and we now see Taylor travelling back to Italy where her older sister Maddie (Annabel Scholey) is now living. Not only does Maddie surprise Taylor with an extravagant house — but a surprise wedding that will actually take place in two days. As if fates have collided, Maddie is preparing to marry the one and only Raf. Yes, Taylor’s Raf. As the wedding day creeps around the corner, both Raf and Taylor tries to hide their huge secret from Maddie. With Maddie’s ex-lover, Doug (Greg Wise), hoping to romance Maddie back into his arms, will it be happy fairytale for everyone?

Directed by William Pym, WALKING ON SUNSHINE is a feel good chick-flick that will have you singing from the rooftops — literally. Just like a musical jukebox that could well be the soundtrack for a holiday in real life, the cast can be seen randomly bursting into songs from time to time. For a self-proclaimed ’80s musical film set in the ’80s, Walking on Sunshine seems to have specifically selected classics that resonate well with today’s modern audience.

A tribute to popular ’80s music, the film features many classics including Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby“, Whitney Houston’s “How Will I know“, Madonna’s “Holiday”, Cindi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”,  Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time“, and Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go”. Although it would have been nice to see songs boasting certain talent such as Leona Lewis’s, the cast, nevertheless, has risen to the ’80s challenge with vibrance and lively enthusiasm.

Surprisingly, Walking on Sunshine isn’t the terrible cringefest we were expecting. From Raf and Taylor’s romantic scene by the beach to Taylor singing her heart out on the rooftops, the film unfolds its plot like a sensationalised soap-opera.

With the film’s hopeful messages about love conquering the odds, viewers will find themselves immersed in the drama, gasping and cheering on for the characters at appropriate moments. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the film ends up inspiring the audience to embrace a holiday romance of their own.

Walking on Sunshine may not be theatrically glamourous as Mammia Mia or Pitch Perfect but its glorious Italian backdrops will boast the film’s visual spectacle in an exciting manner. Whether it be fancy sun-soaked beaches or rustic architectural houses, viewers will settle into holiday mode in no time. It’s not just the setting — Walking on Sunshine must also be credited for its calculated choreography in many of the musical performances. Featuring holiday brochure scenarios that can be cringeworthy at times, the film is essentially a mediocre musical for adults — yet still fun and fabulous to watch.

Overall: WALKING ON SUNSHINE is a B-grade musical film that offers great entertainment in its own domain. With a compilation of ’80s music, well-choreographed dances, and amusing soap-opera drama, Walking on Sunshine is the perfect melodramatic film for a quiet night. Besides, who can say no to a film that pays tribute to classic ’80s music?

Rating: 7/10

WALKING ON SUNSHINE is now out on DVD. You can view more info on Madman Entertainment’s site [here]

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