Consuming Passions (1988)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Satire  |   Release Date - Apr 6, 1988 (USA)  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Craig Butler

A waste of a quite talented cast, Consuming Passions wants to be a zany, black corporate satire but is too labored and mannered to achieve its goal. A good deal of the problem lies in the premise, which is stated in the first few minutes but never developed; what might have made a darkly daffy short film has been stretched to feature length, and the law of diminishing returns sets in very quickly. The middle section is padded to no discernible purpose -- certainly no discernible comedic purpose -- causing it to come to a dead halt when it needs to be galloping. The plotting problems would be less important if the screenplay provided uproarious laughs or insightful dialogue, but it never comes close to either. Matters are made much worse by Giles Foster's leaden direction, which hammers a nail into any moment that gives even the slightest hint of being ready to take off and soar. Under this direction, a cast of first rate talents tries its hardest -- but to no avail. Vanessa Redgrave gives an embarrassingly grotesque performance, Tyler Butterworth is bland to the point of invisibility, and Prunella Scales is given nothing to do. Only Jonathan Pryce manages to rise somewhat above the proceedings, providing most of the few laughs that the film generates.