Tamara Drewe is a minor work from a major director. Stephen Frears (The Grifters, The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons) confected this larky British comedy inspired by Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd by way of Posy Simmonds' graphic novel.

Hardy's book was about the effect of a beauty on the men who desire her; Simmonds' twist is to make it about a woman of appetites who goes about satisfying them.

The film stars delicious Gemma Arterton, who possesses the sexiest overbite since Gene Tierney, as the title figure who drives men wild and women to fits of envy.

Tamara, a posh girl raised in a Dorset manor, has moved to London, where she gets her nose bobbed. Suddenly she excites the attention of men to whom she once was invisible. When she returns to Dorset to sell the family house, Tamara is the talk of Ewedown, her village, where all the creatures are in rut.

Brainy Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), the famous crime writer and serial philanderer down the road, has Tamara in his sights, much to the dismay of Beth (Tamsin Greig), his long-suffering wife and muse. Beth runs a writer's retreat in their home, for which she makes mouthwatering meals and desserts.

Strapping Andy Cobb (Luke Evans), once the Drewe stable boy, still has the hots for the girl he seduced as a teen, though he is cool about the fact that Tamara aims to sell what once was the Cobb ancestral home.

London rock god Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper) seduces Tamara first (or is it the reverse?), much to the indignation of local teenagers who worship him and resent Tamara for being a hunk magnet. (The nosy teens, Casey and Jody, serve as a Greek chorus for the proceedings.)

Frears lays on the rustic atmosphere thick as the icing on one of Beth's delectable cakes. Each cow seems to have been cast for the maximal graphic impact of its spots, each flowering vine for the beauty of its blooms. While no one would celebrate Tamara Drewe as a great movie, it is a reliable dispenser of visual and erotic pleasures.EndText