A review of  When Brendan Met Trudy” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: R for nudity, language

Run Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

 

 

Boy-meets-girl, boy-gets-girl, will-boy-lose-girl?  This Roddy Doyle-scripted romance is a charming, but awkward ode to the travails along the path to true romance.

Brendan (Peter McDonald) is a hopeless candidate for the true love sweepstakes.  Mired in a boring school teaching position, Brendan fills his colorless spare time absorbing old movies and singing baritone in the church choir.  Short on social graces but long on sincerity, Brendan is all thumbs-and-stammers when he meets Trudy (Flora Montgomery) at a local bar.  Immediately and unaccountably smitten, the pair jump feet first into Trudy’s whirlwind of parties, local glitterati, and sex.  When Brendan learns that Trudy is a professional burglar, and not the Montessori teacher she professes to be, he reluctantly agrees to accompany her on a job.  But the true test of the relationship is dinner with Brendan’s family.  The meal is an unmitigated disaster, and the relationship instantly doomed.  Brendan is determined to get Trudy back, and will go to great lengths to prove just how genuine his intentions really are.

There’s a lot to like about this refreshing Dublin-based romance. A bit o’ the Irish blarney, the quirky elements of new love, and witty homage to an impressive assortment of classic films.  McDonald, spot on when mimicking old movie dialogue, staggers under the weight of a character penned as over sincere and slightly to the left of goofy.  Trying too hard, the kiss of death in love, life, and cinema. Montgomery fares better, giving an earnest performance of a wild child who falls for the nattier elements of Brendan’s geeky persona. Fantasy element alternately appeals and repels, rendering the project a crazy seesaw of movie entertainment.