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Life is Sweet (1990)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Wendy, a cheerful fortysomething, leads a children's dance class. At home she meets her husband, the good-natured Andy, and her twin daughters, the can-do Natalie and Nicola, who is withdrawn and confrontational, with naïve political ideas. Nicola reads diet magazines in her room and Andy goes to the garden shed.

Andy's friend Patsy takes him to see a dilapidated burger caravan, which he persuades him to buy. Aubrey, a clueless family friend, calls round and discusses the immanent opening of his local nouvelle cuisine restaurant, The Regret Rien. Patsy and Andy return with the caravan - no one is very impressed.

Wendy and Andy go to see Aubrey's restaurant. Aubrey receives a telephone call from the waitress saying she won't be able to work, so Wendy offers to stand in. Back at home, Wendy and Andy have another look at the caravan. Wendy is still not very impressed but Natalie is more encouraging. Natalie goes out for a drink and a game of pool.

In bed, Andy tells Wendy of his plans to get the van going at weekends, with a view to giving up his day job if all goes well. Wendy expresses her concerns about Nicola. Nicola opens a suitcase of food from under her bed, binges and is sick while Natalie reads in the next-door bedroom.

The next day Andy is at work as a chef in an industrial kitchen. Wendy is at work in a children's clothing shop and Natalie is working as a plumber. Nicola is at home and is visited by her boyfriend. She commands him to smear chocolate spread over her naked body and then lick it off and he leaves shortly afterwards. Wendy returns home and does the housework.

Andy and Natalie help Wendy to decide what to wear to the restaurant. Natalie and Nicola talk together about children and men.

Aubrey opens the restaurant and runs through the inventive menu - including king prawn in jam sauce - but he has neglected to advertise, and no customers appear. He gets progressively drunk and goes outside, shouting in the street for custom. He makes a pass at Wendy, takes his suit off and turns all the tables over before collapsing on the floor in his underpants. When Wendy arrives home, Andy, who has been to the pub with Patsy, is lying drunk in the caravan with his feet sticking out of the door. Wendy and the girls help him upstairs to the bathroom.

Next morning, Nicola's boyfriend returns and tries to talk to her, but she has nothing much to say so he leaves. Wendy confronts Nicola, saying she has given up on life. Andy returns home early from work with a broken leg, having slipped on a spoon, which is given pride of place above the fireplace. Wendy talks with Nicola and says they all need to turn over a new leaf. The family sit in the living room talking and drinking tea. Wendy helps Andy into bed and Nicola and Natalie chat together in the garden.