Swede Caroline review: this mockumentary about competitive veg growing is painfully unfunny

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That title is so superbly naff, it’s impossible not to chuckle – or indeed prevent the dulcet tones of Neil Diamond earworming “Sweeeeede Caroline!” right into the centre of your brain. Sadly after that, any joy evaporates within the first 20 minutes.

It’s cucumbers at dawn in this mockumentary about the cut-throat world of competitive vegetable growing. Everyone has read those articles about an eccentric allotment botherer who’s grown a turnip the size of Benidorm only for it to be sabotaged by a rival gang of Zimmer frame-wielding pensioners.

Well, similar capers abound here, as Caroline (This is England’s Jo Hartley) is having her marrows pilfered by a mysterious intruder. She investigates with the help of Paul (an Alan Partridge/Nick Frost mash-up who thinks he’s permanently on black ops behind enemy lines) and bumbling Willy (chief comedy skill: online reviews of own-brand tinned food).

There’s shooting, kidnapping  and a blood-spurting finale involving lots of naked people. Aisling Bea pops up as a menacing sex party host and then pops back down again, which is a shame as a bit more of her presence on screen would have added some natural wit.Sounds like a laugh? It ain’t, because every line is painfully unfunny. The pick of the quips? Caroline names her prize vegetable Ricky “after Ricky Hatton because he’s a fighter”. (If that makes you laugh, ignore me and add an additional three stars.)

It’s meant to be a cringe-fest à la The Office, but the only cringeing is over how the film makers produced something so poor. It’s supposed to look amateurish, but it feels like an amateurish attempt at pretending to be amateurish.

And they say that vegetables are supposed to be good for you...

Swede Caroline is in cinemas from April 19