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Lemon leaves a bitter taste

Leigh Francis as Keith Lemon and Kelly Brook as herself
Leigh Francis as Keith Lemon and Kelly Brook as herself

Keith Lemon: The Film (15, 85 mins)

Comedy/Romance. Leigh Francis, Laura Aikman, Kevin Bishop, Kelly Brook, Verne Troyer, Harish Patel, Nina Wadia, David Hasselhoff, Paddy McGuinness. Director: Paul Angunawela.

To say Keith Lemon: The Film is bad would be an insult to Battlefield Earth, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Jack & Jill and other big screen debacles that merit the censure.

The feature debut of Leigh Francis's sexist alter ego, who hosts the Bafta award-winning comedy panel show Celebrity Juice, lacks a single redeeming feature.

The wooden cast can barely conceal their embarrassment while the perfunctory, ramshackle plot wallows knee-deep in puerility.

Francis and director Paul Angunawela, who co-wrote the inane script, open the sluice gates on the interminable vulgarity with an opening dream sequence, in which Keith expresses his desire for Kelly Brook in stomach-churning close-up.

The English actress is almost convincing playing herself, spearheading a bewilderingly list of cameos including Peter Andre, Gary Barlow, Emma Bunton, Melanie C, Jason Donovan, David Hasselhoff, Jedward, Vernon Kay, Ronan Keating, Chris Moyles, Billy Ocean, Rizzle Kicks, Phillip Schofield and Denise Van Outen.

The celebrity quota outstrips the number of laughs, the biggest of which comes when Keith's mate Gary (Paddy McGuinness) turns to the camera and grins, "I'll see you in the sequel."

He's such a wag.

Leigh Francis as Keith Lemon
Leigh Francis as Keith Lemon

Small-time businessman Keith Lemon runs Securipole in Leeds with his level-headed girlfriend Rosie (Laura Aikman) and dim pal Douglas (Kevin Bishop).

Keith dreams of fame and fortune but he doesn't have a nose for industry and his invention fails to generate interest at a convention in London.

Indeed, the only person to applaud his bravado is fellow inventor Kushvinder (Harish Patel), who gives Keith a touchscreen mobile phone prototype in exchange for 8.2% of any gross future profits.

With the help of a fixer called Archimedes (Verne Troyer), Keith snags a guest spot on David Hasselhoff's chat show where he launches the Lemon Phone - an ordinary handset with a glowing citrus fruit on the case that becomes a global sensation.

With millions pouring into the bank, Keith could settle his arrears with Evil Steve (Francis again), who is well known for scything off flaps of skin from cash-strapped debtors.

Instead, the dreamer forgets about his troubles and sets about wooing Kelly Brook to his palatial abode at Lemon Towers with a bulging wallet.

Keith Lemon: The Film marks an excruciating low point for British film-making.

Francis's strawberry blonde chauvinist nauseates and bores in equal measure, and he fails to pluck a single heartstring when he tearfully confides to his sweetheart, "I love you more than I love myself, and I love myself a lot."

Brook flaunts her ample assets and suffers the indignity of simulating sexual acts with a plate of gravy-slathered bangers and mash.

Eighty-five minutes of this festering cinematic canker seems like an eternity.

Bang tidy? More like an inexcusable mess.

:: Swearing :: Sex :: Violence :: Rating: 1/10

To find local screenings for Keith Lemon: The Film, click here

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