Abi and Doug take their kids on a little holiday to Scotland where grandpa Gordie is celebrating a big birthday – and possibly his last. It’s the cancer, you see, which is why Abi and Doug are determined to keep a wee little secret from his dad: they’re divorcing. Have been acrimoniously separated for quite some time. So of course they’ll have to enlist their three precious children into this lying scheme of theirs, and of course that’s not going to be easy. The eldest child is just starting to think that lying is wrong, and being forced to lie by the people who have always taught you not to is just a little hypocritical. The two littler ones are just straight up liabilities. So this is going to be a fun holiday!
I clicked on this because I saw Rosamund Pike plays Abi (and David Tennant her ex-husband) but was most pleased to find Billy Connolly playing grandpa Gordie. He brings such a unique energy to things, I was immediately swept off my feet. And this is not exactly an excellent movie. But Connolly is pretty much everything you could ask for and more, and the kid actors are a goddamn delight. They’re mouthy and disarming – the kind that completely enchant you, unless they’re yours. But they’re not, so you can sit back while your own are in bed and watch their antics, guilt-free. Because oh yes, there will be antics. It’s a silly little film that, in the end, I enjoyed quite thoroughly. It’s a notch above a time-waster; a movie that doesn’t need to be seen with any pressing urgency but if you come across it randomly you might find yourself pleasantly surprised, as I did.
Billy Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and prostate cancer right before filming began. He kept that to himself. He has stepped out of the spotlight since and his health is failing; he shocked people with his altered appearance when he made time to do a Red Nose video for charity earlier this year. I can’t quite bear to contemplate a world with Connolly in it. If you’re a fan of his, maybe watch this movie now, while the memories are still good.