Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Matchmaker

1997, UK/US, directed by Mark Joffe

Rating: ***

A hefty slice of cliché, The Matchmaker sends Janeane Garofalo, a political staffer, on a wild-goose chase to Ireland in search of her boss's Irish roots. However, she ends up at a local matchmaking festival (yes, they do exist), thereby enabling the filmmakers to lay on the Paddywhackery and loud Yank stereotypes with the thickest of trowels. Since it's a romantic comedy, though, the plot and realism (the Irish love interest is clearly Scottish) are beside the point: like most of its kind, this survives on the peformances, especially those of the supporting characters. While the US actors have pretty thankless roles (with the exception of Garofalo, whose usual spiky wit keeps things just off-balance), there's a small galaxy of fine Irish talent on hand, with Milo O'Shea and Rosaleen Linehan both enjoyable as rival matchmakers, a succession of nerdy looking men playing, well, nerdy men, and Jimmy Keogh performing some scene thieving of the most enjoyable kind as a wildely eccentric Aran islander.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States