dir Anjelica Huston
scr John Goldsmith, Brendan O'Carroll
with Anjelica Huston, Marion O'Dwyer, Ray Winstone, Arno Chevrier, Niall O'Shea, Ciaran Owens, Roxanna Williams, Gavin Kelty, Carl Power, Mark Power, Gerald McSorley, Tom Jones
Review by Rich Cline
The film opens as the just-widowed Agnes (Huston) is left to cope with seven (count 'em!) kids with the help of her batty best pal Marion (O'Dwyer). Soon she's in hawk to the local loan shark (Winstone), and the new French baker (Chevrier) is eyeing her up. What follows is an increasingly predictable blend of comedy, romance, tragedy and so on.
And it's positively excruciating! Huston merely jumps from one bit of cute Oirish quirkiness to the next, including (I kid you not) a band member playing spoons on his cheek, a silly coffin switcheroo and a little girl doing Riverdance on the street. Not to mention the "magical" day out at the seaside, the oh-so-romantic (and very French) first date, a wacky driving lesson and a jaw-dropping appearance by Tom Jones as himself. I could go on. There's not a single convincing scene in the film ... and the actors ham it up mercilessly (only Winstone and O'Dwyer emerge with any dignity; Huston is shockingly bad as the glamorous supermam). If this had been played as a straight comedy, it could have been quite hilarious, but Huston seems to see it as an actor's tour de force as Agnes embarks on a voyage of self-discovery. Not even close.
[15--themes, language] 29.Feb.00
US release 10.Dec.99; UK release 3.Mar.00
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