Film review | The Look of Love – A flavour of Partridge for Steve Coogan’s porn playboy Paul Raymond

The Look of Love - Steve Coogan as Paul Raymond

Steve Coogan and director Michael Winterbottom follow up previous collaborations 24 Hour Party People, Cock and Bull Story and The Trip with The Look of Love, a biopic of porn ’n’ property tycoon Paul Raymond, once the richest man in Britain.

As their film shows, Raymond certainly had the Midas touch when it came to business, going from end-of-the-pier mind-reading act to strip-club and nude-revue impresario, porn magazine publisher and the owner of vast swathes of Soho.

The Look of Love - Tamsin Egerton as Fiona Richmond

His wealth paid for a playboy lifestyle whose excesses inevitably took its toll on his relationships with the most important women in his life – ballsy wife Jean (Anna Friel), blithe mistress Fiona Richmond (Tamsin Egerton) and beloved daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots), whose attempt to follow in her father’s footsteps (both entrepreneurial and decadent) led to her death from a drug overdose at the age of 32.

The Look of Love tells this story with gaudy brio, but the film’s tone is wildly uneven, veering between Swinging Sixties romp, nudge-wink satire and cautionary fable, as if Winterbottom and screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh couldn’t decide what film they were making or who Raymond really was.

Part permissive pioneer, part tawdry sleaze-merchant, part Alan Partridge, Coogan’s portrayal is entertainingly flashy but only skin deep.

In cinemas from Friday 26th April.

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