Janice Beard: 45 Words Per Minute

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Janice Beard: 45 Words Per Minute Review


Janice Beard is frequently compared to Amelie. Or more to the point, Janice Beard's producers frequently compare it to Amelie, which is as scurrilous a comparison as you can find.

While both films star single girls with a fondness for fantasy life, Eileen Walsh's Janice isn't half as charming as Audrey Tautou's French pixie. How so? While Amelie spends her days in bistros and on amazing adventures in her neighborhood, Janice works as a relatively incompetent temp in Scotland. Janice's fantasies are drawn from her attempts to entertain her mother, who went crazy when Janice's father died during mom's childbirth. (Har har!) While Amelie takes great pains to appear stylish (oh, that hair!), Janice is a wallflower, dressed in hand-me-downs, with bug eyes and buckteeth, a la Toni Collette in Muriel's Wedding, a film which Janice Beard offers a far stronger resemblance to than Amelie.

But while we root for Muriel, we don't care much what happens to Janice. She's a loser like Muriel but more a victim of her own circumstance instead of a domineering family. Hell, she's a temp that can only type, as the title says, 45 words a minute! Janice is driven to compulsive lying allegedly by a need to keep her mom entertained, but that explanation never flies. Amelie was a flighty daydreamer. Janice is mean and crazy.

What's to like then about Janice? Primarily it's the supporting cast of Rhys Ifans as Janice's awkward and strangely mysterious love interest and Patsy Kensit as her ruthless and fashionable boss. Ifans provides the impetus for the plot's forward motion: He's in the employ of a radical organization attempting to sabotage the company. We care more about his mission than Janice's many, many insecurities.

Aka Janice Beard: 45 WPM; Janice Beard: 45 W.P.M.



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