A ‘friend’ recently introduced me to the ‘Saw’ franchise of films. A vital cultural reference for today I thought. So what happens when you mix this horrifying series of films with the equally horrifying bastion of modern culture that is Noel Edmunds and ‘Deal or No Deal’? The answer is probably ‘21 Girlfriends’.
A dishevelled game show host has just been stabbed, and falling into a limbo like state, is made to play a variation of his own creation ‘21 Boxes’. Each box opened reveals a new clue about a past relationship. Lacy lingerie, salad cream and a ‘Ghost Busters’ video all make an appearance.
And now the Saw bit. Failure to play means dying from his stab wound. Shame then that the ‘I want to play a game’ voice sounded more like a voice over from a ‘Visit Scotland’ advert than anything more sinister. Certainly not scary, and probably not really ‘drama’ either.
The show is also amateur in appearance and production. The weak acting of the central character is only rescued from oblivion by the varied and entertaining portrayals of his various romances. Many of the jokes fail to hit home however. Mrs Robertson, a satire of Mrs Robinson from the ‘Graduate’ was a hit - but many other jokes fizzled out. ‘Got any nuts’ he asks an airhostess who fails to giggle on cue like Barbara Windsor in a ‘Carry On’ film.
21 is also a very long number, and the initially novel idea becomes increasingly stale and predictable. Like ‘Saw’, there is a spurious reason for the agony of playing (and watching) the game. Running wild around town and jumping at anything with a pulse has offended many of his past loves and this has come back to haunt him.
Despite the occasional flashes of humour, the monotonous plot and amateur production make this one to miss.