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Little Children (DVD)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson & Jennifer Connelly.

Rated: 15.

Story: Frustrated housedad meets repressed housemom. They get together and have acrobatic sex while doing laundry. Meanwhile, their town is obsessed by the arrival of a newly-released sex offender.

Comments: I've been interviewed a few times about this site now. The only time I was really thrown by the questioning, however, was when asked if, in my experience, women are attracted to a man who's in charge of small children - the About a Boy factor, if you will.

Basically, the interviewer wanted to know if I get chatted up because of my kids.

I had to laugh.

On a typical visit to the swing park, I'm haggard, stained and already having two conversations at once with my kids. I have more likelihood of being abducted by chimpanzees than participating in a bit of flirting.

Then again, I don't look much like Hugh Grant.

Even if I did, though, I'm not in the market for any sexual tension. Like I have time to maintain a relationship with my kids, my Xbox and two women. Not to mention the small matter of that wedding ceremony where I promised my wife my love, loyalty and trust in front of God and a couple of hundred people. Nope, no kissing strangers by the swings for me...

Bearing all this in mind, the actions of the central characters of Little Children often seem improbable and foolish. The film just doesn't do the housedad cause any favours. Brad (Wilson) is only looking after his son because he can't work out what he really wants to do and he ends up having an affair with the first housemum that speaks to him (Winslet). Cheers.

The touches of reality amidst the madness make Little Children watchable, however, but the flow is frequently interrupted by the narrative voice-over. It's so obtrusive that it verges on self-parody. Redubbed in a sarcastic tone of voice, it would be hilarious.

The final message that it's always possible to change our situations without running away from them is reasonable but undercooked. All the characters spend the whole film making bad decisions before going totally crazy and coming out sane the other side in the last five minutes. After lengthy discussions of literature and some prolonged agonising, the sudden, fraught climax is jarring.

Conclusion: One of the main characters is a housedad, the other is played by Kate Winslet. If those both seem like strong selling points, then you'll be mildly entertained for a couple of hours.

If you're a housedad, then think twice before showing this film to your partner, her mum, your sceptical friends or, indeed, anyone you know. It's probably not worth it.

Explosions: None.
Book club meetings: One.
Unlikely turns of events: Some.
Kate Winslet: Plenty.
Actual chance in real life of getting two three-year-olds to nap long enough at the same time for their parents to have sex (acrobatic or otherwise) and angst-ridden conversation on a regular basis: Small.

Rating: 3/5.

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