Ready, set, go. Straight out of the box with his first feature Fast Girls, director Regan Hall has produced a fun and energetic film that, while no Chariots Of Fire, will leave you eager for the Olympics and, possibly, your running shoes.
Being Human’s Lenora Crichlow is Shania, the feisty runner from the wrong side of the tracks (in this case, South London) with a lot of raw talent and a shopkeeper for a coach.
When she wins her first big race against the odds she is shunted onto the GB track squad and, unwillingly, onto the relay team, where she must compete in more ways than one with pretty, posh Lisa (Lily James) who has a slick, don’t-mess-with-me ponytail and an attitude to match.
There’s not much to surprise here, the main question being, of course, can the girls work out their differences in time for the Olympics, sorry, Championships?
Along the way they encounter Lisa’s bullying father (played by British stalwart Rupert Graves), her more helpful coach (played by Kidulthood’s Noel Clarke, who also co-penned the script) and Carl, the girls’ physio and sometime love interest.
Crichlow has just the kind of solid natural charisma needed for this kind of lead and Graves the right amount of weak-chinned foppishness.
There’ no denying it’s cheesy and the whole girl power thing can get a bit much at times, but some decent acting, a high tempo soundtrack (featuring the likes of Labrinth and Example) and a good sense of its simple objective keeps the film on track.
The supporting cast, all of whom really do look like professional athletes after they all followed the same gruelling diet and exercise regimes as Crichlow, provide a decent backdrop to the story, the only exception being a half-hearted romance involving Carl and, well, you can probably guess, that never really gets going.
But then, like Bend It Like Beckham the heart of this story is its girls and, with bags of energy and a timely release slot just ahead of London 2012, they will keep you entertained for the full hour and a half. Any rom com that manages to stick to 90 minutes deserves a medal in our book.