“Speed Dating” Puts Romance Into The Highest Gear

Tony Herbert’s 2007 film is one of few films to explore speed dating as addict of conveyor belt matchmaking, James Van Der Bexton (High O’Conor) tries to navigate the challenges of contemporary romance after being dumped by the love of his life.

Speed Dating - 2007 - Hugh O'Conor

Romance isn’t easy. Finding the right match can be tough. That’s perhaps why the phenomenon known as “speed dating” is such a hit. By definition, singletons get to check out potentials through a sort of conveyor belt of male and female suitors. If supermarket’s did romance, this might be it.

While speed dating might not have the same allure it once had before the age of match-making smartphone apps, it still boasts some striking statistics. Apparently, there’s a 75% chance of meeting at least one suitable partner at a speed dating event. They’re good odds for anyone!

Tony Herbert’s 2007 film is one of few films to explore speed dating as addict of conveyor belt matchmaking, James Van Der Bexton (Hugh O’Conor) tries to navigate the challenges of contemporary romance after being dumped by the love of his life. The heir to a huge financial fortune, James has everything he could wish for but no one to love. Speed dating is where he thinks he’ll find his mojo again.

A modern take on 21st century courting, Herbert’s film taps into our desires as social animals. Although now over ten years old, speed dating remains popular all over the world with singles events from London to Shanghai taking place. Of course, Herbert’s story throws into the mix some memory loss and James’ newfound obsession with a mysterious woman, to add some dramatic conflict to the mix. When she goes missing, events amusingly spiral out of control.

Witty and at times laugh out loud funny, Herbert gets classy performances from his dynamic cast, combined with some stylish cinematography and sparkling soundtrack. Well-rounded characters avoid typical stereotypes while Herbert’s clever interpretation of romance in the modern age will resonate with audiences who have similarly endured heartbreak.

Above all, James’ journey is one that doesn’t fall the typical path. While our expectations are met and Herbert sticks closely to tried and trusted plot development, his protagonist is not a one-dimensional caricature. That makes him far more interesting and, as a result, Speed Dating distinguishes itself in a genre that’s over-populated with mediocrity.

Funny and quirky, endearing and smart, Speed Dating is more admirable because its director has managed to do a lot with a tiny budget. The cast give it their all. David Hayman as the drug-taking psychiatrist will remain in your memory but it’s O’Conor who deserves to take the most credit.

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Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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