Lost at Christmas review – sickly sweet Highlands romcom takes the wrong road | Film

An assortment of Scottish actors familiar from Taggart, north-of-the-border soap High Road, various Doctor Who episodes and film adaptations of the less renowned Irvine Welsh novels assemble for this dully sentimental, unfunny romantic comedy.

First seen skipping through a Highland town dressed like a Christmas elf, right down to the red and white striped tights, annoyingly cheerful Jen (Natalie Clark) has rocked up to surprise her man for Christmas, only to discover he’s married and has a kid. Her path that day criss-crosses with that of dour Rob (Kenny Boyle), who has just been knocked back by his girlfriend following his marriage proposal. Both distraught and stuck in a snowstorm at the station after the last train has left, they pair up to try to get back to Glasgow.

After the de rigueur bickering as they try to get through some snow-capped scenery, they end up at an inn that turns out to be full of people trying to escape enforced Christmas cheer. This perfectly sensible attitude is anathema to Jen, who insists on bullying everyone into celebrating “the happiest time of the year”. Old men at the bar crack wise, one-time Gregory’s Girl Clare Grogan grumps about the place in an Aran sweater … and of course Jen eventually melts the heart of jilted Rob.

It’s hard to care exactly what writer-director Ryan Hendrick’s endgame is going to be since the whole film feels as if it’s going in one particular direction – but the last shot finishes in quite a different sort of place, which is an interesting if not especially pleasant surprise. Nevertheless, the dialogue is as insipid and bland as elevator music, and the non-source score itself is even worse.

• Lost at Christmas is in cinemas from 4 December and available on digital platforms from 7 December.

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