The Most Fertile Man in Ireland
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
most fertile man in ireland This zany Irish sex comedy is bright and enjoyable ... and strangely sexless. Eamonn (Marshall) is a virginal 24-year-old Catholic boy working at a dating agency in Belfast when he discovers he has the highest sperm count in town, which leads to a long line of childless women who want to be naturally impregnated. But just as he starts to enjoy his new vocation, he's finally noticed by the girl of his dreams, Rosie (Clarke), the undertaker's daughter who is being pursued by the "feared and ruthless" Protestant activist Billy (Nesbitt). Soon it's all-out war between the Catholic and Protestant communities, both of which need Eamonn's help to build their communities.

The religious-political context is the only thing that makes this goofy comedy interesting. Otherwise it's an engagingly cartoonish film, with stereotypical characters and a colourful and zany production design. The problem is that it's not particularly well filmed or edited; Appleton has a nice eye for visual wackiness, but not much of a clue what to do with it. Some segments are so badly handled that we haven't a clue what just happened, while others have a kind of sublime quirky sweetness to them that lingers in the mind. The cast is good, although they're stuck in comedy sketch characters that never generate any real emotional resonance, which is a problem in a romantic comedy. And there are logistical problems, not just the comical approach to the Troubles (which is actually refreshing) but in the simple fact that Rosie seems to be the only person in the Six Counties who doesn't know what Eamonn does for a living! At least the filmmakers resist the obvious sight-gag at the end (you'll know what I mean). But they shouldn't have resisted the sex. I mean, if you're going to make a comedy about sperm, you shouldn't make a film as deeply unsexy and prudish as this.

cert 15 themes, language, sex, violence 9.Jun.03

dir Dudi Appleton
scr Jim Keeble
with Kris Marshall, Kathy Keira Clarke, James Nesbitt, Bronagh Gallagher, Olivia Nash, Kenneth Cranham, Toyah Willcox, Pauline McLynn, Tara Lynne O'Neill, Marc O'Shea, Harry Towb, Alvaro Lucchesi
release UK 20.Jun.03
03/UK 1h33

Doing his part: Kris Marshall.

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R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... most fertile man in ireland Alison Gentry, UK: 4 out of 5 stars "I have only recently seen this film but did find it reasonably funny. It was a relief to watch a film that was light-hearted & didn't contain blood, gore & sex in nearly every scene, even though it was about sex! Having read some other reviews regarding this film, I do agree that it comes across as low budget, but most critics seem to have forgotten how to watch a film for fun! I really enjoyed watching this film and if you are looking for a film that doean't involve using lots of brain power to watch it, then this is the film for you!" (2.Feb.04)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall