Simply put: Driving Lessons is pretty much Harold and Maude, but without the fucking. Sure, it's a lazy comparison, but I feel okay about it, since the British Driving Lessons is a pretty lazy movie.
Ben (played by Rupert Grint, who's better known as Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter movies) is an emotionally isolated young man who gets a job as a personal assistant to an eccentric actress, Dame Evie (Julie Walters). Evie is a drunk, vulgar old lady who initially shocks uptight Ben with her bawdy behavior—but, of course, eventually the two become friends, much to the consternation of Ben's hysterically religious mother (played by Laura Linney, who is not British, and I don't understand why she's in this movie). When Evie convinces Ben to drive her to Edinburgh for a literary festival, he finally begins to crawl out of his cramped little shell, until at last he learns to think for himself.
Every aspect of this movie is underwhelming. Evie is an irritating, needy old drunk, and it's hard to see why Ben is so taken with her. The film's ridiculous climax, wherein Evie storms the religious pageant in which Ben is playing a tree (is that funny?), made me embarrassed for everyone involved in the making of the film. Laura Linney has a shit British accent, Julie Walters seems like she may have actually been wasted for the duration of filming, and Nicholas Farrell—as Ben's long-suffering dad—just looks sad and confused. Grint is actually perfect as the awkward, gawky outsider, with his weird-looking face and blotchy redhead's complexion. Maybe he should stick to the Harry Potter franchise, though, since being "the new Bud Cort" isn't exactly something a young actor should aspire to. Skip Driving Lessons, and rent Harold and Maude again instead. Trust me: Ruth Gordon's sweet joie de vivre is a million times more fun than watching a drunk Julie Walters puking in her sink.