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    When Brendan Met Trudy

    Harry and Sally who?

    A stuck-up Dublin schoolteacher suddenly falls for a free-spirited thief in Roddy Doyle's madcap romantic comedy "When Brendan Met Trudy."


    (Also see this review by Offoffoff's David Butterworth.)

    Directed by: Kieron J. Walsh.
    Written by: Roddy Doyle.
    Cast: Peter McDonald, Flora Montgomery, Marie Mullen, Pauline McLynn, Don Wycherley, Gabriel Byrne.
    A flight of fancy built around an unlikely love affair between a priestly schoolteacher and a bubbly burglar, "When Brendan Met Trudy" is a quirky romantic comedy set in Dublin, Ireland, adeptly realized by first-time director Kieron J. Walsh and written by Booker Prize winning novelist Roddy Doyle. The film is a departure from the gritty urban realism that characterizes Doyle's Barrytown trilogy and the movie versions of "The Van" and "The Snapper." His first work written especially for the screen, this film has elements of fantasy similar to those in "The Commitments," the rock and roll epic that launched Doyle's career. Beginning slowly, it takes a moment before the audience catches on to the whimsical tone that builds exponentially as the romance progresses.

    Brendan, in a hilarious deadpan portrayal by Peter McDonald, is a fussy, boring, choir member and film buff. Trudy, a vivacious and compelling Flora Montgomery, pretends to be a Montessori school teacher and picks him up in a bar. After being stood up on their first date to see a foreign film, Brendan tracks Trudy down and is led on a wild ride through her Dublin — parties with Nigerian refugees, work days spent in bed, and late-night escapades burgling sneakers, homes and a miniature village from a country theme park.

    Throughout the film, there are many reconstructions of and homages to other movies — opening with Brendan face-down in a gutter doing a voiceover from Billy Widler's "Sunset Boulevard." In a fabulous sendup of a French film during the height of their love affair, Brendan and Trudy stroll down a Dublin avenue — she wearing a New York Herald Tribune T-shirt, he in a fedora — chatting to each other in French until she decides to steal a computer from an open car and the action returns to Irish. After a disastrous lunch at his dotty mother's (Marie Mullen) where his bitchy middle-class sister (Pauline McLynn) calls his new girlfriend a glorified nanny, Trudy breaks up with him.

    Will Brendan somehow win Trudy back? Will they get away with their capers forever or get pinched and rot in jail? Will they live happily ever after or was it just a mad fling?

    There is tremendous attention to detail in the directing, writing and acting of this film. Each supporting performance is perfectly and wackily realized — from the aging headmaster cum rockstar, to the prissy oversensitive battle ax of a teacher with a penchant for listing points off A, B, C. Doyle has a myriad of little jokes in the film, some that are explosively hilarious — keep an eye out for ridiculous street addresses, the latest title playing at the movie theaters, a sudden announcement over the supermarket loudspeaker, and a politically incorrect parade on television.

    Although his cinematic references span much of the last century, Doyle's focus on the refugee situation in Ireland and its recent booming economy place the film in contemporary Dublin. The repeated singing of the great Irish tenor John McCormack, the heavy rain and the green countryside add the traditional elements to this very universal, very clever, very enjoyable foreign film.

    MARCH 8, 2001

    Reader comments on When Brendan Met Trudy:

  • when B met T   from elle mathews, Jun 3, 2001
  • i love her   from Giulio, Jul 12, 2002

  • Post a comment on "When Brendan Met Trudy"