I Am The Prize (2020) Film Review

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Marking his feature film debut, Oliver Purches stars in I Am The Prize, which revolves Martin (Purches) and his futile attempts to find a girlfriend. When his best friend Laura (Charlotte Ellis) promises that she’ll help him find someone within six weeks, she sends him on an intensive ‘seduction course’ led by sleazy pick-up artist Sebastian (Andrew Kingston). 

With Purches writing, starring and co-directing his first feature, I Am The Prize follows in the footsteps of British romantic-comedies that focuses on hapless men in their quest for love. While Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill had a sense of charm, this film sets the tone during the opening credit sequence – thanks to a lewd sex toy, no less.

When we first meet Martin, he comes across as shy and easily intimidated by other people, especially Laura’s eclectic co-workers. Purches’ performance somewhat attempts to provide depth to Martin’s character development but as he evolves from a mildly endearing loser to an arrogant git, any empathy to his plight quickly diminishes.

His bestie Laura doesn’t help things either. From trying to set Martin up with her co-workers to smugly sending him on a course, she has an air of superiority just because she already has a boyfriend. This ultimately backfires when her own shallow tastes offer a huge dose of karma, as well as result in a predictable outcome.

Certain aspects such as the bland performances and Sebastian’s overly offensive remarks about women will not sit well with most viewers, but what lets I Am the Prize down is its immature and forced comedic tones that feel more suitable for a British sitcom rather than a 90-minute feature film. In addition, they prevent the film from being creatively imaginative and it subsequently falls into a series of tropes and clichés.

On paper, I Am The Prize uses low-brow jokes and a hint of romance to lay the foundation of a ‘safe’ debut for Purches. But this blind faith of comedy solely carrying the film is not enough so it falters all too easily. 

I Am The Prize is available to watch on demand via this link.

Director: Oliver Purches, James Staunton
Stars: Oliver Purches, Charlotte Ellis, Andrew Kingston, Kate Davies-Speak, Andrew McGillan
Runtime: 94 minutes
Country: UK

Film Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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