What We Did On Our Holiday – Not the heart warmer reviews promised… – Review – (BEWARE SPOILERS)

The review quotes are LIES. FILTHY LIES!! Ok I may be overreacting. But I certainly did not fall in love with this movie...

The review quotes are LIES. FILTHY LIES!! Ok I may be overreacting. But I certainly did not fall in love with this movie…

Now I’ll admit, the main reason I went to see this movie was for David Tennant. I was never a fan of Outnumbered. Children in comedy usually makes me cringe. USUALLY.

Please watch the trailer, then watch the movie, and wait for your ideas to be ripped apart.

This movie was almost in 2 halves. For me, the first half was funny, charming, I didn’t even want to throttle the kids. Tennant was lovely, Pike was lovely, Miller was lovely, Connolly was lovely. The relationship between the kids, Lottie especially, and Gordy was lovely. I really liked how it was portrayed. The way she talked with her grandad. BUT shortly after that it lost me…(See below the cut for plot & spoilers & my thoughts…)

It was not the heart warmer alot of the reviews were promising(some mention a tonal shift, but not all.. and none prepare you…). And I wouldn’t call it hilarious. It was funny, but most of the funniest parts were in the trailer. The trailer and reviews don’t properly prepare you for this movie. (And the plot description on IMDb was different when I last looked, it didn’t say that…) And what makes me wonder more if the people in the cinema who were laughing at what I thought were rather inappropriate moments… My father who saw it with me agrees with me on this, he was silent in these moments too, and couldn’t understand why you’d laugh at such a thing… I mean.. you could see Doug, Tennant’s character, was visibly upset. I couldn’t understand why people were laughing at it while he looked so distraught, AFTER LEARNING HIS FATHER HAD DIED. I mean seriously people. NO SOULS.

So the basic plot of this movie goes like this, as its not on wiki yet;

Starts out as a dysfunctional broken family preparing to go on a roadtrip up to Scotland to see their family, for their Grandad’s 75th birthday party. Grandad, Gordy, is also dying of cancer, which the kids don’t know properly until later when Gordy tells Lottie himself pretty much. The parents are planning to keep the fact they’ve split up and are getting a divorce secret from Gordy and the other family until after the party at least. (Gordy is Tennant’s character, Doug’s father btw.)
Lottie is the oldest of 3, Mickey is the middle child and only boy, and Margaret/Margie(way to name a child…) is the younger. I reckon Lottie is around 10, Mickey was said to be 6, and Margie must be like… 4? Anyway. All these children have quirks. Lottie writes literally EVERYTHING down. Mickey is obsessed with Norse gods and Viking stuff, Odin in particular, and Margie collects pet rocks/breeze blocks and any inanimate object and names them. Oh, and she steals keys and hides them. Endearing right? o_o;

The roadtrip itself isn’t too bad, and the scenes of Gavin, Doug’s brother, played by Ben Miller, and his wife planning the party are also funny. Even when the family gets there it still remains comedic. It’s when Gordy and the kids go off while the rest of the family stays behind to prepare for his birthday party where it all starts going kind of wrong for me….
Both Abi(Rosamund Pike) Doug and Gavin all show concern at a sickly old man going off with 3 kids and looking after them for the day. But he does anyway, saying he’s risk assessed it, which he then said was a joke. And that’s pretty much the last thing he says to his sons. Ever.
Him and the kids have a fun time driving round beaches and driving over signs, burying grandad in sand, him pretending to be dead, the kids collecting crabs and talking about what he’d like his funeral to be, fun times right? It’s all going swimmingly, until Gordy see’s his dead brother coming across the beach for him. And the screen fades to black. It’s then revealed he’s died. There and then. Which I was expecting/hoping would happen after this big party. But no. Grandad’s dead. And NONE of these kids cry. Not even Lottie. Who I kind of expected to. Sure she/they might be shocked. But when I was told my grandad was dead, that’s not how I reacted. The 4 year old might be a little young to understand fully. But I was 6-7 when my grandad died, I remember being very sad and insisting on carrying my bear around school. And other stuff…

So Grandad’s dead. What do you do? Tell an adult of course. But with no phone, cos grandad was stubborn, Lottie has to run all the way back to the house. BUT she see’s Doug and Gavin fighting, and because Grandad didn’t want them fighting over his funeral, she decides NOT to tell an adult, and instead sneaks into Gordy’s room and takes some of his favourite things, then runs back to the beach…. it’s then declared that they’re going to do the Viking burial at sea, on a flaming boat. Of course, they have no boat, SO THEY BUILD A RAFT. A 4 year old, a 6 year old and a 10 year old, BUILD A RAFT. Sure, Brownies are mentioned, and the 6 year old Mickey knows many knots, BUT STILL. I don’t believe it. Not at all. Not a usable raft anyway.

The raft is built, they use the car to drag it to the water, that’s right, 10 year old driving a car, 6 year old brother doing the pedals and gear stick. Totally. Ofc. Cos why not. AND THEN they use the rolling sticks/logs method to get their dead grandad over to the raft… Not sure where they found all the perfectly round logs, but ok. That’s fine. And they decorate the raft quite nicely, I noticed a pair of antlers and wondered where the hell they would have come from… on a beach… bit random.

Finally they douse the raft with petrol and set it alight, and watch it float off to sea. Sure Grandad would be proud of them, but what will everyone else thing?
The 3 kids make it back to the house, JUST in time for this big birthday party to start, and they reveal that Grandad Gordy has died. Doug is distraught, Gavin is in go mode, contacting the authorities, and everyone is trying to get information out of the kids.  Party guests start arriving and they have to be told Gordy’s dead, and it gets out that the kids burnt him at sea. News crews arrive by the morning, this is after the police arrived with a social working type person and interviewed the kids one by one, and she took Lotties notebook.

So the news crews are there, the social workers back, Lottie lets her in to make a phone call and Mickey gets outside to tell the press the truth, this is after Gavin and Doug were fighting too. Mickey just wanted the yelling to stop. Doug goes to get Mickey and gets bombarded by the press, starts being accused of being a bad father, and THEN cos the social worker called the press about the families dirty laundry, the divorce, Doug’s affair etc etc, Doug freezes, and Abi comes to the rescue, holding his hand and saying how he’s a good father. Like… having their family problems aired in public like that, sure fire way to sort a situation out right?

After all this, they go back inside, all is hunky dory, the social worker gives Lottie a knowing wink and slips away, not before leaving Lotties notebook of everything on a table for her.
And it ends with a mini funeral near the place Gordy was set alight at sea, Doug gets emotional, I got emotional, Gavin even gets a bit emotional. And then Gavin’s son(I’ll talk about him after this) plays a cheerful jig and they all dance about happily. And the parents tell the kids they’ll start acting like adults from now on, before Abi pushes Doug into the water, oh hilarity. It ends with them playing in the water.

So that’s basically it. Gavin’s Son Kenneth(played by Lewis Davie) was a highlight for me, I thought he was a highlight of the movie, his mini sub plot was one of the brighter moments. He felt like he looked super familiar to me, but he might just look like someone else… either way. In real life, he’s a musician, and that’s cool.

I wanted so much to like this movie. I expected to like this movie. But I left the cinema feeling rather down and sad. Disappointed. Not even the final scene could shift my mood by that point. I left the cinema wondering if it was in fact a comedy I just watched. Because some of the situations in this movie would not be laughable. Not in the slightest. Nor could you brush past them as quickly as they do.

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2 Responses to “What We Did On Our Holiday – Not the heart warmer reviews promised… – Review – (BEWARE SPOILERS)”

  1. Jane Astin Says:

    a raft?! sounds ridiculous

  2. Louise Says:

    I found the adults mostly very tiresome, but the children were good, and the Viking funeral is great

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