The Decoy Bride

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The Decoy Bride
Decoy bride poster.jpg
Directed by Sheree Folkson[1]
Produced by Robert Bernstein
Douglas Rae[1]
Paul Ritchie[2]
Written by Neil Jaworski
Sally Phillips[1]
Starring David Tennant
Alice Eve
Kelly Macdonald
Sally Phillips
Music by Julian Nott
Distributed by CinemaNX
Release dates
  • 14 May 2011 (2011-05-14) (Cannes)
  • 9 March 2012 (2012-03-09) (United Kingdom)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £2,500,000

The Decoy Bride is a 2011 British romantic comedy film written by comedian Sally Phillips and Neil Jaworski, and starring David Tennant, Alice Eve and Kelly Macdonald and set on the fictional island of Hegg,[3] supposedly located in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The film was made by Ecosse Films.


Lara Tyler (Alice Eve) is one of the most famous film stars around, but all she wants to do is marry her fiancé, writer James Arber (David Tennant). After a supposedly secret traditional church wedding is interrupted by paparazzi Marco Ballani, hiding in a cabinet at the altar, with Lara chasing him away, she and James become desperate to find someplace unknown and wed in peaceful bliss. Besieged by the press, especially Ballani (Federico Castelluccio), who is obsessed with Lara, they escape to the tiny Scottish island of Hegg. Ballani somehow manages to get to the island, and then local girl Katie's (Kelly Macdonald) mother alerts the press (for money). Lara discovers all this, becomes upset and hides away. In desperation her management team, led by Steve Korbitz (Michael Urie), decide to stage a fake wedding, hoping the paparazzi will fall for the scam and leave the island. Katie, nursing a broken heart because of her latest break-up, is recruited to pretend to be a heavily-veiled Lara to complete the charade. Subsequent circumstances lead to Katie and James falling in love.


  • Kelly Macdonald as Katie Nic Aodh,[4] the decoy bride
  • David Tennant as James Arber,[4] best-selling English writer who wants to marry Lara but accidently gets marries to the decoy bride Katie. A deaf couple believes he is a famous bagpiper and dance around him happily.
  • Alice Eve as Lara Tyler,[4] Famous Hollywood actress yet she is hell bent on marrying writer James Arber
  • Michael Urie as Steve Korbitz,[1] Head of Lara Tyler's management team and her agent
  • Sally Phillips as Emma, Steve Korbitz sharp tongued fancy dressing assistant
  • Maureen Beattie as Iseabail Nic Aodh[1]
  • Federico Castelluccio as Marco Ballani,[1] journalist who constantly photographs Lara and James's weddings
  • Dylan Moran as Charley
  • Jeannie Fisher as Aileen
  • Hamish Clark as Angus
  • James Fleet as Laird
  • Sally Howitt as Muireen
  • Hannah Bourne as Chloe
  • Matthew Chalmers as Callum
  • Rony Bridges as Roan
  • Victoria Grove as Anais Anais
  • Alisha Bailey as Surelle
  • Alex Childs as TV host
  • Tony Roper as reverend McDonough
  • Ben Addis as journalist 1
  • William Owen as journalist 2
  • Calum MacNab as journalist 3
  • Ross Armstrong as 1st paparazzo
  • Samuel Roukin as 2nd paparazzo
  • Patrick Regis as Hollywood minister
  • Danny Bage as hotel doorman
  • Tona Gray as elderly woman
  • Gil Kolirin as security guard
  • Robert Fyfe as ancient crofter
  • Maryann Turner as ancient crofter's Wife
  • Achara Kirk as tourist


David Tennant said that the film was an homage to 1983 Scotland-set film Local Hero.[5] The fictional island of Hegg was inspired by Jura and Eigg.[5] It received the largest grant possible from Scottish Screen, £300 000[5]

Rehearsals started in London on 21 June 2010. Filming began on 27 June on the Isle of Man, before moving to Scotland. Filming ended on 31 July 2010.[6] Many of the outdoor scenes were filmed on the Isle of Man while other scenes were filmed in Glasgow and at the Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries and by Loch Fyne in Argyll.[3]

The score was written by Julian Nott.[7]

CinemaNX distributed the film in the United Kingdom and HanWay Films is the international sales agent.[4]


The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics. It holds a score of 23% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes[8] and a score of 42/100 on Metacritic.[9]

Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times liked the film, praising the performance by Tennant and Macdonald and the mocking of celebrity culture.[10] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter called the film a "bland romantic comedy in the Richard Curtis style" but praises Macdonald's performance and concludes that her performance makes the film tolerable.[11]

The A.V. Club's Alison Willmore gave the film a "D+", criticizing that the talented cast and pretty scenery cannot save the film from the fact that it is "inescapably based on how romantic it is that someone would throw over his doting, famous fiancée for an ordinary girl" even though the story does not convey any reasons why this should happen.[12] Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice called it a "pernicious tripe suitable only for masochists and the intellectually disabled" and notes that "the supposedly frothy tone is tarry and flavorless, and the drill is painfully familiar".[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kemp, Stuart (2010-10-25). "'Decoy Bride' adds cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  2. ^ "The Decoy Bride". HanWay Films. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Film quiz: can you identify the Scottish location doubles?". The Herald. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Macnab, Geoffrey (2010-05-14). "Tennant, MacDonald, Eve walks down the aisle with decoy bride". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  5. ^ a b c "Hollywood comes to isle of 'Hegg' in a Local Hero for the 21st century". The Scotsman. 15 May 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Cooper, Sarah (25 June 2010). "Shooting will begin on Ecosse Films’ romantic comedy this weekend on the Isle of Man and Scotland". Screen Daily. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  7. ^ "Julian Nott Scoring The Decoy Bride". Film Music Reporter. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Decoy Bride (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Decoy Bride Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (8 March 2012). "Here Comes the Bride’s Understudy". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Scheck, Frank (9 March 2012). "The Decoy Bride: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Willmore, Alison (8 March 2012). "The Decoy Bride". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Atkinson, Michael (7 March 2012). "The Decoy Bride". The Village Voice. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 

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