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Preview review: Gemma Arterton gets saucy with director Stephen Frears in 'Tamara Drewe'

August 27, 2010 |  4:35 pm

MV5BMjAwOTUwMjIzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTY1MjM0Mw@@._V1._SX640_SY426_ On the big screen, Gemma Arterton has been no stranger to playing the role of resident hottie. She's was a Bond girl in "Quantum of Solace" and a fiery vixen earlier this year in "Clash of the Titans" and "Prince of Persia."

Her new film -- director Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe," which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival next month -- may have been shot on a much smaller budget, but Arterton is again portraying a sought-after female.

The film -- based on Posy Simmonds' graphic novel, which was inspired by Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd" -- is centered in the English countryside. There, a variety of writers and artists are pleasantly surprised when bombshell Tamara Drewe rolls into the sleepy town. Tamara, once not so attractive, has gotten a nose job and now enjoys a wealth of local male attention. She catches the eyes of two men in particular: one guyliner-wearing and surly (Dominic Cooper), the other muscular and outdoorsy (Luke Evans).

We're not sure if all of the elements here seem to work: For instance, the explanatory word boxes (which we assume exist because the film is based on a graphic novel) feel out of place in the comedy and more suited to a movie like "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." The movie also seems -- no surprise here -- to have a distinctly British sense of humor that audiences might not expect given the source material.

That being said, Arterton is really appealing in the role -- self-assured and sassy without making herself unlikable. And it looks like it will be fun to watch her multiple love affairs intertwine until the situation inevitably implodes. If she can bring enough youthful energy to the film -- which we're hopeful she can -- the movie seems like a light, easy comedy from the frequently stellar Frears.

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Gemma Arterton in "Tamara Drewe." Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

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