If you’re after a film that will make your sides ache with laughter, Hello Carter may not be the film for you. This sweet and, at best, amusing film from writer/director Andrew Wilcox, offers an introduction to fun, engaging characters, but fails to back them up with a script as funny as Hello Carter aspires towards.
The jumbled plot sees recently homeless Carter (Charlie Cox) sent on a wild-goose chase around London by his ex-girlfriend’s imbalanced brother (Paul Schneider), in exchange for getting hold of her phone number. Through a series of mishaps and a case of mistaken identity, Carter is left with a baby that isn’t his and an office worker (played by Jodie Whittaker) questioning her place in the world.
The first thing to say of Hello Carter is that it is a quintessentially English film, and more specifically a London film. The capital’s familiar cityscape dominates the film’s look, with very little else to give the movie it’s own unique tone.
Trawling through these well-worn streets we find Charlie Cox’s Carter, a typical everyman down on his luck. Cox, who audiences may remember from 2009’s Stardust, is on form as the sweetly sympathetic Carter, using his boyish looks and typically English demeanour to likeable effect. This is helped by his interactions with characters who seem more than happy to either exploit or undermine his efforts to search for employment, accommodation and the love of his life. Paul Schneider’s Aaron, who sets Carter on his quest, is amusingly irrational, narcissistic and insecure, all of which are features that add up to a manipulative and, despite understandable motivations, unlikeable guy. Henry Lloyd-Hughes’ Nicholas is more on the nose arrogant, tapping into the young professional archetype that everyone knows and no one likes. Playing his seemingly long-suffering girlfriend, and love interest for Carter, is Jodie Whittaker, who continues to prove a reliable screen presence with her mildly infectious comic turn.
Sadly, the diverse characters and familiar setting can’t save Hello Carter from its own faults. The haphazard narrative has too many jolts to follow with interest, and with a script that is not nearly as funny as it should be to cover this issue, the film falls flatter than it should. The soundtrack is appropriate and helps propel the film forward, but with visuals of London seeming to loop throughout, and a severe lack of the kinetic direction needed to make this a fun caper, Hello Carter – like its titular character – is nice enough but nothing more.