8 MINUTES IDLE film review and trailer.
As far a romantic comedies go, 8 Minutes Idle is lacking in both romance and comedy. The film feels uncomfortable throughout with a script which isn’t sure on tone or balance, actors who have little to work with and a production which can never rise above the film’s low budget.
Dan, a directionless office worker is thrown out of home by his crazy and aggressive mother. The reasons for this are given as Dan letting his father into the house. Doing this led to him stealing a winning lottery ticket and making off with it. Beyond this, the short opening scene sets up Dan’s mother as an irrational, violent and unhinged character; one of many elements of this comedy which don’t fit comfortably.
Dan decides the best course of action is to live at his office. He doesn’t really explore other options. Seemingly having no friends outside of the workspace (and it’s hard to call his colleagues friends) and being significantly in debt limits his options absolutely and Dan is left with no other option but to move into his office with his pet cat. As far as concepts go this isn’t all that bad, cinema has a long history of office based comedy romances, but 8 Minutes Idle has as much creativity and motivation to explore this idea as its main character has in trying to sort out his life.
Thrown into the mix are bizarre work colleagues, including a sadistic, manipulative and stereotypically maniacal boss, attractive female colleague, all of whom find Dan somehow attractive, despite his lack of charm or sex appeal. The most developed of these is Teri, the films romantic interest. She is herself going through some relationship problems, but the problems for their potential romance run deeper than that. The film is lost amidst all the characters and subplots and never gives Dan and Teri sufficient screen time to develop a burgeoning romance which will see us rooting for their relationship to work. The rom-com elements of the plot only really kick in during the third act, by which time we barely care for either character.
Most of the humour derives from the escalating scenarios Dan finds himself in during his time living in the office, from stealing fish from the fish tank to feed his cat, being caught on a colleagues webcam masturbating whilst wearing his boss’ clothes or getting locked in the toilets overnight. None of these moments have the creativity or execution to come across as genuinely funny and with the film focusing so much on the humour of Dan living at work and not on the romance the film ultimately fails.
As Dan, Tom Hughes does his best to channel an early 20s Hugh Grant-esque performance, and has to carry much of the film. But his characterisation and performance are never gripping as his character is underwritten and gives so little room for showcasing his potential skill. The rest of Dan’s colleagues are similarly under represented and are reduced to caricatures. The only two performances of note are Paul Kaye and Pippa Hayward in cameo roles as Dan’s parents. With little screen time they give spirited performances which highlight their experience but tonally their characters feel as if they’ve parachuted in from another, quirkier and darker comedy.
8 Minutes Idle has little going for it. A romantic comedy which misjudges the comedy and fails to develop the romance, it has moments of comedy, but suffers from a lack of dramatic impetus, engaging character development and artistic creativity.