Diana & Me (1997)

D: David Parker
S: Toni Colette, Dominic West, Malcolm Kennard

An Australian girl named Diana Spencer (Toni Colette) wins a magazine competition to visit London and attend a luncheon with the Princess of Wales. She and her groom-to-be Malcolm Kennard make their way to England, where Colette meets paparazzo Dominic West. Complications ensue when the two of them begin pursuing the Princess, climaxing with them gate crashing Elton John's birthday party. Inevitably, an attraction develops between them, threatening Colette's pending marriage and changing her life in more ways than one.

Fairly standard romantic comedy with strong echoes of the screwball farces of the 1930s. The fact that it revolves around a paparazzo and the late Princess may, to some, prove offensive, but this is quite generic and relatively harmless. It is framed by a prelude and coda which pays obeisance to the fact of her death, but it is not really about her or concerned with exploiting her so much as using the setting for comic effect. Again, this might not seem funny to certain people, but it is a relatively natural premise and it plays well.

Colette is likable in a performance with some echoes of Muriel's Wedding, and her co-stars fare well against a plethora of cameos from the likes of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Jerry Hall and Bob Geldof. At the heart of any film of this type is that the characters perform in the chaos, and they do. It all works out well enough and provides a number of laughs along the way; really no more or less than expected. It's momentary flashes of drama are secondary to the comedy, and while none of it is particularly outstanding, it all works within the frames of reference of the story.

All-in-all Diana & Me is a watchable and relatively entertaining film. It won't end up on any 'best' lists, but it passes the time painlessly enough. Whether or not you find it offensive is entirely up to you.

Review by Harvey O'Brien copyright 1998.