Christine Painter (Julie Walters) is a working-class single mother struggling to make ends meet who opens her own brothel with the aid of an experienced prostitute and a transvestite RAF officer.
This is a gently witty, if curiously coy, attempt by director Terry Jones to re-create the odd career of real-life “luncheon voucher madam” Cynthia Payne.
Julie Walters is a good choice to portray Payne’s droll matter-of-factness about the sexual proclivities of middle-aged men, but in its jolly, almost seaside postcard approach, the movie loses edge and bite.
Jones and co basically bolster up the one-dimensional image of Walters’s character as a cheery old duck whose early life was hard, but rich in experience, while its truly sad aspects are blithely glossed over.
Wing Commander Morton