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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Jim Doyle|
scr Ian Brady, Jim Doyle
with John Lynch, Geraldine Somerville, John Thompson, Ian Mercer, Lauren Cook, Ben Thompson, Judith Barker, Sidney Livingstone, Joan Oliver, John McCardle, Stefanie Button, Sam Aston
release UK 7.May.04
Confrontational: Lynch and Thomson.
There's a superb theme and a decent story here, but the way the film's made makes it impossible for us to connect with it. Surely it worked much better as a stage monologue (One Fine Day, by Dennis Lumborg), where the limited point of view lets you root for the central character. Here he just comes across as an idiot who deserves what he gets.
Eddie and Jeanie (Lynch and Somerville) are loving parents to Katie and Billy (Cook and Thompson), whose happy and open family life is shattered when Katie's schoolwork hints she might know too much about adult sexuality. The social worker admits this might be due to an especially honest family life, but Eddie completely looses his cool, and his hotheaded rants get him banned from his own family. Living with his last remaining friend (Thomson), Eddie gets the brilliant idea to take his kids to the seaside for a day out of school. Without telling anyone. And despite the restraining order against him.
It's impossible to have sympathy with a guy who continually does such stupid things! His overreactions to Social Services have a point; the investigation is unwarranted, but he's squarely to blame for everything that happens afterwards. An old-pal cop (Mercer) seems to be the only thing between him and a night in jail. And other characters aren't much better, from Sommerville's stony-but-loving wife to Oliver's relentless monster of a mother-in-law. This isn't the fault of the actors--each brings a lively, vivid rawness to his or her role. The problem in Doyle's direction, which heightens the joy and rage to almost cartoonish levels. The happy-family scenes are just too bright and cute, the indignation far too belligerent. Not a single person thinks before they speak or act, which makes the film seriously annoying. We want to feel for Eddie, since we know he's innocent, but he's so moronic that we begin to think maybe he shouldn't be around his kids after all! This is self-righteous drivel that actually works against its own message. It's far better suited for the limited perspective of the stage, or the detached isolation of TV.
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