Girls just wanna have fun and they wanna give the boys a run for their money doing it. Director MJ Delaney certainly puts her money where her mouth is, her debut film opening with one of its leading ladies urinating in the street. In this way, the crude humoured Powder Room is a British Bridesmaids, capturing how uninhibited women really behave on a Friday night.
Down-on-her-luck Sam (Sheridan Smith) is stuck in a rut. Her professional life is a joke and her love life’s a shambles. Unlike her devoted but highly dysfunctional friends (including sexually empowered slapper Chanel, played by Jamie Winstone), Sam wants to live for more than just the weekend. She wants to escape to something better like her estranged friend Michelle (Kate Nash), a fashion blogger recently re-located to Paris and living the high life with an all expenses job and great husband.
Michelle is back is in London with her snobbishly bitchy co-worker and new BFF, Jess (Oona Chaplin) and Sam’s doing her best to impress by lying about her life as the three party at a club in Clapham. It gets that much harder to keep up appearances once Chanel and Co. stumble into the same club to live it large, an increasingly exasperated Sam trying to spend time with the glamour girls and her chavvy mates whilst keeping both groups apart.
Ducking into the girl’s loos whenever she’s in danger of being found out, Sam’s night-on-the-town-from-hell soon turns into a foul mouthed farce, but for all the coke-snorting and toilet stall phone sex, Sheridan Smith’s Sam is the film’s warm centre, a luckless loser who’s always lovable. At heart Sam is a salt of the earth girl (an intrinsic quality of the actress playing her) so when she lies to others, there’s a hurt sense of pride at lying to herself. Smith also has great fun digging Sam into a deep hole, showing the quick wit which she fabricates an ideal self, but also the constant struggle of keeping up with her own story and the gnawing sense it could all unravel any moment.
Girls will laugh at their own worst behaviour and men dragged along will be shocked by it, but the deeper message of sisterhood and sticking by your true friends is what distinguishes Powder Room from your run-of-the-mill raunch-fest.
We spoke to stars Sheridan Smith and Jamie Winstone (both as feisty in person as they are on screen) about the heart and humour of this comedy behind closed toilet doors.
This interview has been encoded at 1080p to be viewed full screen, which can be accessed on the tools button when the video is playing
First published by Vérité Film Magazine on December 6, 2013