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The Girl in the Café

Lots of hype, started well, ended in disappointment – well maybe not officially, but at least that’s my view. Had heard great things about “The Girl in the Café” – the new HBO/BBC romantic comedy set in the upcoming G8 summit and packed with development economics and social commentary – and through the first 30 minutes everything was going fine. Then came the long unoriginal speeches and a focus on the lacking convictions of the delegates instead of the severity of the problem at hand. There is very little talk of solutions, just criticisms of the little which is being done. While the effort to bring increased attention to the important issue of the MDGs is commendable –and some believe rockstar economics may be helping (others don't)- much more could have been done with the 90 minutes.

See it for the great upper-class British wit (same writer as the 'Blackadder' series and 'Four Weddings and a Funeral') and the stereotypes of G8 officials and country positions – but not for the development insight. The highlight for me was that Bill Nighy stars as the movie’s main character, a UK civil servant, and I couldn’t stop picturing him as the aging rogue rocker from 'Love Actually' or the king of vampires in 'Underworld.'

For those who are interested, a friend of mine saw a special screening of the movie at the French embassy where Fareed Zakaria led a discussion. The trailer is also available online.

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