David Mackenzie’s Tonight You’re Mine is meant to be very much of the times, employing Scotland’s T in the Park festival as an epicenter for modern youth culture and, at least partially, as an indicator of the film’s visceral nowness. Director David Mackenzie, who seems to be going after Michael Winterbottom’s record in terms of prolificacy and quasi-experimentalism, crafts something not unlike a far tamer 9 Songs with this story of two rockers who are inexplicably handcuffed together for an entire day during the much-loved music festival. The act of documenting the fest, which is held every July, is supposedly of equal matter to Mackenzie as the narrative ploy that’s unfurled within it, with performances by the Proclaimers and Newton Faulkner punctuating the rom-com beat like the padded thump of a kick drum.
The film’s narrative conceit—super-famous musician Adam (Luke Treadaway) getting handcuffed to not-so-famous musician Morello (Natalia Tena) by a semi-spiritual security guard preaching peace and friendship—is so rigidly formulaic and lethargically spun that even the looseness and spontaneity that the setting affords feels dull and constricting. Screenwriter Thomas Leveritt strides to obfuscate the rote structure of his story by proliferating individual experiences during the festival—that of Adam’s bandmate (Mathew Baynton), lady friend (Ruta Gedmintas), and manager (Gavin Mitchell), Morello’s boyfriend (Alastair Mackenzie) and bandmate (Kari Corbett), and an eco-friendly filmmaker (Sophie Wu). And yet, remarkably, not one of these storylines stirs anything even remotely approaching comedic or compelling, unless you find acting like an atypical drunken buffoon or witnessing two lesbians making out on a big chair particularly enthralling.
The little good will Mackenzie derives from his off-center choice of soundtrack or that one giddy moment when Morello’s band, the Dirty Pinks, busts into a cover of “Tainted Love” with some help from Adam eventually evaporates by the time a minor revelation throws a wrench into Morello and Adam’s budding romance. It’s an easily dislodged wrench, of course, and by the time Adam’s band, the Make, takes the stage and Adam dedicates the titular song to Morello, the film’s heedless progression has passed on from forgettable to arduous. The final onstage consummation, which quickly toggles Morello’s punk-as-fuck persona to a love-doped swoon, is enough to make you clamor for Kat Dennings’s inaugural orgasm in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.