Roberts, so good in Submarine, here plays a similar role – that of the shy, put upon young man harbouring a crush on a girl. Here though it's a different milieu and a very different type of movie. As hotel bellboy Sam he is sent on an errand to an expensive jewellers. While there he is unlucky enough to be privy to an armed raid and is consequently held hostage along with the portly shop owner Charlie (Spall) and his beautiful assistant Mary (Poots), whom Sam has the hots for. Their clumsy captors are named Cameron and Clegg, ho ho. The former (McKidd) is a stuttering psychopath, the latter (Altin) a novice at the crime trade way out of his depth.
Virtually the whole movie is confined to the setting of the jewellers shop - and there's a total lack of suspense and tension as the crazy gunmen try to negotiate with the virtually unseen police. There's a dearth of plausibility in the scenario too, so that leaves us with only the dear actors to keep us engaged. Unfortunately, Roberts lets the side down, being completely outclassed by his fellow thespians. The flat, downward inflection of his lines and the absence of natural emotion and believable fear in his performance renders a great hole at the centre. The film is flimsy enough but the lack of a decent turn from the lead actor unbalances the proceedings considerably.
Thankfully his costars almost save the day. Poots is terrific as the frightened girl, utterly convincing when both terrified and tenacious, and Spall brings welcome gravitas to his role as the owner of the shop. He makes acting look so easy. McKidd strains too hard at times but is still credibly fiersome as their violent abductor while Altin registers just the right amount of energetic worry and frustration with the realisation that things are not going according to plan.
There are many flaws to this film but it still manages to end up a mildly likeable effort, and director Aboud shows promise. With a bigger budget and better script he could deliver a more memorable movie. Alas Comes A Bright Day, though nicely presented, is a miniature in a minor key that will be swiftly forgotten.