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Calendar Girls (2003)

They dropped everything for a good cause

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 108 minutes

UK Certificate: 12A

It’s been a good six years since those less-than-toned Yorkshire lads dropped their knacks in the name of wholesome goodness in ‘The Full Monty’, so now it’s the turn of the womenfolk in ‘Calendar Girls’.

The ever-reliable Julie Walters adopts the role of Annie, who fancies a fund-raiser for the local hospital when hubby John (John Alderton) dies from leukaemia. So best bud Chris (Helen Mirren) suggests a calendar comprising pics of their fellow ladies of the Women’s Institute in the buff. Before long, strategically-placed cakes, jam jars and bushes (ooh-er) become the order of the day as the hardy gang of wrinklies get their bits out in the name of charidee.

Despite a bit of understandable opposition from the W.I. powers-that-be, fame and celebrity status awaits the daring old flashers as the world’s media scramble for coverage of the story. That part might sound a bit far-fetched, but believe it or not this is all based on actual events – which included an unlikely trip to Hollywood and an appearance on the Jay Leno Show for the stripping oldies.

Mirren (who, let’s face it, is no stranger to getting them out) and Walters both provide excellent, believable and at times touching performances, but as a comedy this is more than a little lightweight. The story, quintessentially English as it is, is only vaguely interesting and finding the effort to smile at the onslaught of mediocre quirkiness can be a bit of a stretch. The mob of pensioners surrounding me in the theatre lapped up writer Tim Firth’s joke-packed screenplay, but personally I heard little I couldn’t get from a half-hour episode of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’.

It's Got: ‘No front bottoms’.

It Needs: ‘Considerably bigger buns’. Nudge nudge, etc etc.


A nicely-acted Brit-com, but unfortunately it’s also unavoidably dull.