Ever After: a Cinderella Story, Must Love Dogs, Mr Nice – best films on TV tonight

A twist on a fairy tale classic, an internet age romance and a Brit's drug crime define our top film picks tonight Monday 23 June


Ever After: a Cinderella Story – 6:40pm, Film4


Director Andy Tennant brings new freshness and vitality to the Cinderella story in this delightful reworking that treats the age-old glass slipper legend as if it were hard historical fact. All the pantomime sorcery and comical sidekicks have been jettisoned, and that means the romance between Drew Barrymore’s feisty servant girl and Dougray Scott’s handsome prince can shine even brighter. Anjelica Huston re-interprets the evil stepmother role with deft assurance, and Leonardo da Vinci (played by Patrick Godfrey) makes a surprising fairy godmother figure. A handsomely mounted epic with lots of glamour and a fabulous grand ball.

Must Love Dogs – 8:30pm, ITV2

John Cusack and Diane Lane star as the date-shy divorcees who meet via internet personal ads placed by friends and family, and then conduct a constantly sidetracked courtship, sparked initially by their mutually feigned love of dogs. She builds character as a pre-school teacher; he builds wooden rowboats. But neither seems capable of forming a relationship without the interference and assistance of others. Accept the basic premise that two such attractive people would need such contrivances to find love and this constitutes a watchable enough diversion. But both Cusack and Lane really do deserve better than a by-the-numbers romantic comedy that, after a few pithy early lines, rapidly degenerates into a routine piece of forgettable fluff. The support cast of Christopher Plummer, Stockard Channing and Dermot Mulroney help make sure there is some class on show, but that’s not enough to make this a pedigree 

Mr Nice – 10:55pm, Film4

It makes a change to see a movie about criminality that doesn’t romanticise male bonding and violence. And by glossing over some of the nastier aspects of the illegal hashish trade, director Bernard Rose’s film works very nicely as an elegant if somewhat fey alternative. Essentially it’s a biopic, with Rhys Ifans as Howard Marks, the highly intelligent Welsh Oxford graduate who, in the 1970s, became the world’s most prolific drug smuggler. But Rose intentionally blurs fact and fiction, creating more of a sense of myth than reality. The rights and wrongs of this are open to debate, especially when Marks is seen cavorting with Mujahidin soldiers and crackpot IRA terrorists. There’s a brilliantly bizarre cameo by David Thewlis as Republican rebel Jim McCann and an underused Chloë Sevigny as Marks’s wife, Judy, and look hard for director Ken Russell in a small role. The scenes leading up to Marks’s comeuppance are exciting and darkly comic, though the movie becomes frustratingly busy in the final scenes. But it gives a very good sense of why a bright young man would leave teacher training to become the most wanted man in Britain.


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