ALL IN GOOD TIME (Nigel Cole). 94 minutes. Opens Friday (February 8). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
Nigel Cole's past crowd-pleasers, Made In Dagenham and Calendar Girls, both have skilled ensemble casts, well developed characters and strong political overtones.
All In Good Time, by contrast, is a featherweight story about a pair of newlyweds. Atul and Vina (Reece Ritchie and Amara Karan), children of Indian immigrants in the UK and both virgins, are having a hard time consummating their marriage. They can't find the opportunity or the right ambience; they live in close quarters with Atul's parents.
It doesn't help that a trio of nosy neighbours are paying far too much attention to what's going on in the bedroom across the street.
Credit Meera Syal, who mixes steeliness and tenderness as Atul's mother, and the great Harish Patel as the outsized traditional dad quarrelling with his modern-thinking son, for adding some depth. They reprise their roles from the 2007 stage play Rafta Rafta by Ayub Khan-Din (East Is East) and have an obvious grasp of their characters.
But the theme is so 50 years ago - and no wonder. The source material for Khan-Din's play is Bill Naughton's 1963 drama The Family Way, adapted for the screen starring Hayley Mills and Hywel Bennett.
Nowadays, the idea of having put off sex until marriage, even for those with an immigrant background, seems positively antediluvian. So the set-up itself, and the pivotal conflict between the supposedly new-school Atul and his father, is quaint, if not outright unbelievable.
And the underlying sniggering tone of the picture feels juvenile.