Film review: Walking on Sunshine

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Dancing queens should take a chance on Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini’s super-trouping 1980s jukebox musical.

Walking On Sunshine sincerely flatters the creative team behind Mamma Mia! by reusing their template for a soapy summertime wedding on sun-drenched Mediterranean shores.

Undated Film Still Handout from Walking On Sunshine. Pictured: Leona Lewis as Elena and Hannah Arterton as Taylor. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Vertigo Films. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from Walking On Sunshine. Pictured: Leona Lewis as Elena and Hannah Arterton as Taylor. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Vertigo Films. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

The toe-tapping ABBA songbook has been supplanted by hits including Don’t You Want Me by The Human League, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper, Venus by Bananarama and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham!

In all other respects, Giwa and Pasquini’s frothy romp nods affectionately to the UK’s most successful film musical of all time, contriving sinewy subplots around the song lyrics.

Consequently, the heroine’s lusty sister debates fondling a beau’s pecs to a primal growl of, “Well I guess it would be nice, if I could touch your body...” from George Michael’s Faith.

Three years after an intense holiday fling, good girl Taylor (Hannah Arterton) flies back to southern Italy for a well-deserved break after her university finals.

She arrives at the airport and skips merrily through a full-scale flash mob to strains of Holiday by Madonna.

X Factor winner Lewis looks comfortable dancing and lip-synching in her big screen acting debut, while sexual innuendo abounds in Joshua St Johnson’s characterization-light script that bounces with energy and knows its limitations.

But overall, subtlety isn’t a strong point and the colour palette is equally lurid: the intense orange of tans sears the retinas as much as the brightly hued swimwear. Pack sunglasses!