Double Date (2017) Directed by Benjamin Barfoot. Written by Danny Morgan. With Danny Morgan, Kelly Wenham, Michael Socha, Georgia Groome and Dexter Fletcher.
Sporting a robust head of ginger hair and the friendly physique of a not-quite couch potato, Jim (Danny Morgan) is the 29-Year-Old Virgin. He’s led a sheltered life at home and struggles to talk coherently to women. His closest pal Alex (Michael Socha) is an idiot, but an idiot with a heart who desperately wants to help his friend achieve first contact before his 30th birthday. In due course, they meet two sisters (Kelly Wenham & Georgia Groome) who show them the night of their lives…
Written by Danny Morgan and directed with elan by Benjamin Barfoot, the film’s prologue is as much an attention grabber as you’ll see, with excesses of horrific stabbiness reminiscent of Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct, detouring into a blend of black comedy that pitches its tent as a curious fusion of post-Tarantino grindhouse, graphic novel pop-culture and boy’s own rom-com cheese. It didn’t ought to work half as well as it does, but such is the enthusiasm and belief in the material by those involved that it frequently births surprises. Morgan’s clever script services his characters well, often adding small moments of depth that can range from oddly touching to outright hilarious.
As a screen duo Morgan and Socha share excellence, forging a bromance with an affectionately misplaced sense of purpose. Gyllenhaal-esque in appearance, Socha’s naive stupidity is such a wittily played overcompensation (a bit like Jay in The Inbetweeners) that you can’t help but hope he finds happiness. Though some of the humour is front-loaded with arm-flexing masculinity, its aim is to subvert that by demonstrating how fragile and needy men are when it comes to the question of their sexual potency.
As Kitty, Kelly Wenham is like Meagan Fox in Jennifer’s Body, only far more deadly and adept, garbed in a pink satin kimono, kicking ass with a combo of psychotic kickboxing skills. In one jaw-dropping fight scene on the brink of becoming a sex scene, she unleashes all hell, flitting in-and-out of the role of predator and sexual aggressor, punching, kicking and snogging her way to a climax of something truly memorable. There’s a sense of empowerment to Wenham’s performance, that in terms of subtext, plays like a sexy woman’s response to the one-note advances of your average ‘bloke’ on the pull. She’s nothing short of electric (look up Barfoot’s short film ‘Fist’ for more delightful eccentricity from Wenham and Danny Morgan).
Along with a cool soundtrack by Goat, there are many films mashed into Double Date, which might best be described as an irreverent romantic-comedy with a huge dollop of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The dark humour is at twists wacky, with the affectionate screen partnership of Morgan and Soscha providing gutter-level laughs around pools of blood and an overtly sexy undertone. Razor-sharp and gruesomely funny.