The Actors
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
the actors This wacky Irish comedy has a terrific central premise (the story's by producer Neil Jordan), but the film itself is just too farcical to work at all. Tom (Moran) has one line in a Dublin production of Richard III starring has-been actor Anthony O'Malley (Caine), who has taken him under his wing as a protege. So when O'Malley suggests that Tom take on a character off-stage to earn a bit of badly needed extra cash, he reluctantly agrees. The con involves taking cash from a bar owner (Gambon) who's in debt to a ruthless mob boss (Richardson). But it all, of course, goes wrong and soon Tom is juggling not one but three loopy alter-egos. And it seems like only Tom's young niece (Iversen) has a clue what to do next.

Where it all goes wrong is in the direction. McPherson (Saltwater) goes for broad stage-type performances, which looks utterly fake on screen. The guises Tom adopts are sketch-comedy characters, shouting and floundering and far too silly to be remotely believable. And believability is the whole point, since the core idea is that Tom finds the ability to act well only because his life is at stake. Even so, Moran is likeable in the role, and with the exception of a few embarrassing scenes, Caine is terrifically funny (his hilarious running gags keep us chuckling). Meanwhile, Headey (as Gambon's daughter) is the only person in the cast playing it straight--she's far too classy for a ramshackle film like this! As the film progresses, the story gets worse and worse--contrived, obvious, stupid. By the end we're just like the characters: glad to get out of there alive.

cert 15 themes, language, comic violence 12.May.03

dir-scr Conor McPherson
with Michael Caine, Dylan Moran, Lena Headey, Michael Gambon, Miranda Richardson, Abigail Iversen, Michael McElhatton, Aisling O'Sullivan, Ben Miller, Simon Delaney, Alvaro Licchesi, Damien O'Donnell
release Ireland 17.Apr.03; UK 16.May.03
03/Ireland 1h31

Karaoke baby. Dolores (Headey) sings a lively duet with Clive, who's actually Tom (Moran) in disguise...

caine richardson gambon
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall