Director: Michael Winterbottom
Year Released: 2013
Winterbottom tries to repeat the success he had with 24 Hour Party People in this biopic of the life and (many, many, many) loves of Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan), whose entrepreneurial gift at selling sex (and buying real estate) made him one of Britain's more controversial and wealthy businessmen. Unlike 24 Hour Party People, however, the laughs (courtesy of improvised dialogue) don't come easily - there's something pleasantly cheeky and off-handed about that picture, while this one, in which Raymond cheats on his lovers and even encourages his flaky daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) to do cocaine, he's much less of an empathetic (or entertaining) individual than Tony Wilson. When Debbie finally succumbs to her drug addiction, there's a vague attempt to make the viewers feel bad for Raymond, but his hedonism and poor influence contributed to her demise (he had two sons as well but he doesn't care about either of them and neither does this film). Coogan, himself no stranger to strange nights with strange people, is the only choice for the lead role, but the storyline is so mundane that even a huge dose of boobs (hello, Anna Friel) and some glib remarks can't make it compelling.