When Taylor (Hannah Arterton) is flown to Italy by her sister Maddie (Annabel Scholey) she is shocked to discover that it is for her sister's wedding to boyfriend of just five weeks... And even more shocked when she realises that her sister's boyfriend is Raf (Giulio Berruti), her holiday romance from three years ago!
Set to the music of popular songs from the 1980s and the scenery of beautiful Italian beaches, Walking On Sunshine (12A) should have all of the ingredients to be the feel-good movie of the summer, so how did it go so drastically wrong?
The problem when trying to write a musical around songs that already exist, as opposed to writing the numbers specifically for the film in mind, is that every transition appears really random and really forced; the exchange'I don't know what Raf sees in me' 'You're a goddess!' leads to a rendition of Bananarama's 'Venus', Raf closes his eyes for a moment which incites Taylor to warble The Bangles' 'Eternal Flame', and just before the credits role comes 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' - presumably to wake up the snoozing audience members.
Not only are the songs awkwardly random, they are blatantly pre-recorded with the cast miming to them, badly. Of course not every musical can do a Les Mis where the actors sing live but you just don't expect the fact that they don't sing live to be so show-stoppingly obvious. A lot of the voices are auto-tuned to the extent that they don't sound natural at all and the singing that you hear doesn't match up to the performances that you are seeing onscreen, they may as well have been two different things - an album, and a silent movie. Even former X Factor winner Leona Lewis receives the auto-tuning treatment, something which is both baffling and unnecessary in the professional singer's first movie role.
The storyline itself is also intolerable; so thin and two-dimensional that there is barely anything to it with any attempt at character development, mostly in the form of Maddie, appearing forced and terribly executed. Hannah Arterton's performance as the irrational and slightly annoying Taylor is over-acted and makes you wonder who her competition was in winning the role and the inclusion of Maddie's obsessed ex-boyfriend Doug (Greg Wise) seemed to be more about Wise's desperation in a last-ditch attempt to launch a successful movie career than about the actual character.
All in all, Walking On Sunshine is one big mess - a bad storyline, bad characters, bad actors and bad musical performances with the only slightly redeeming factor being the fact that you can stare at the beautiful Giulio Berruti for an hour and a half... But to be honest, even his chiseled cheekbones, piercing blue eyes and washboard stomach aren't enough to make the film worth watching.
Walking On Sunshine is in UK cinemas from June 27th!
Stay tuned for more reviews and follow me on twitter if you fancy it :)