Hollywood Never A Stickler For Believable Plots, Scenes

The village of Ballingra is straight out of a tourist brochure. It’s the Ireland of … well, of the movies.

So you know the kind of humor that screenwriters Greg Dinner, Karen Janszen, Louis Nowra and Graham Linehan are striving for in the film “The Matchmaker” when they have big-city campaign drudge Marcy Tizard (Janeane Garofalo) turn her nose up at this bucolic dreamland.

“It’s so beautiful here,” she says. “If it just had the New York Times, it would be perfect.”

And then there’s this: “I long to fax someone.”

When you consider the film’s title, this last line comes off as a bit blue. And Dinner et al obviously like the double-edged nature of the joke.

Too bad they didn’t pay more attention to the overall plot (“The Matchmaker” is now on the shelves; see capsule review below). Of course, the fact that plot considerations are often only a secondary filmmaking concern should come as no surprise. Believability on any level is hardly a Hollywood priority.

Anyone who watches movies on a regular basis is familiar with absurd occurrences. The following are just a few you can find in recent video releases:

“Air Force One”: A half dozen terrorists trade automatic weapons fire with Harrison Ford. In a pressurized jumbo jet. At altitude. And the plane just keeps on flying.

“Hoodlum”: A gang of gunmen pepper a car with more bullets than federal agents fired at Bonnie and Clyde. When the smoke clears, an unscathed Laurence Fishburne steps out and starts a firefight of his own.

“Fire Down Below”: Undercover agent Steven Seagal brings Italian fashion to the mountains of rural Kentucky in an attempt to “blend in” with the locals.

“Event Horizon”: Following in the style of traditional horror, characters played by Laurence Fishburne, Kathleen Quinlan, Sam Neill, etc., split up to explore a mysterious spaceship - only to end up facing an unspeakable evil that picks them off one by one.

“Excess Baggage”: Christopher Walken does a good deed.

“Picture Perfect”: After meeting a genuinely nice guy (Jay Mohr of “Jerry Maguire”), a self-absorbed woman (Jennifer Aniston) uses him only to attract the attention of the office bad boy (Kevin Bacon).

Well, maybe that last one isn’t too unbelievable after all. But you get the point.

The only suitable reaction: snickers

One of this week’s releases, the Al Pacino-Keanu Reeves vehicle “The Devil’s Advocate,” offered the Oscar-winning Pacino only his latest chance to ham things up.

And this time he does so in a distinctly nonromantic manner.

Example: Reeve’s character Kevin Lomax asks Pacino’s John Milton (author of “Paradise Lost,” get it?), “What about love?” And Milton replies, “Overrated. Biochemically no different from eating large quantities of chocolate.”

Speaking of ham(burgers)

If you were expecting to rent the film “Good Burger” this week, don’t be too disappointed if you can’t find it. Paramount has requested that retail outlets return the cassettes that it originally sent out for home video release.

The problem? According to a Paramount press release answer, a “manufacturing error… put promotional trailers inappropriate for younger viewing audiences on the cassette.”

“As soon as we discovered the error,” said Jack Kanne, executive vice president for Paramount sales and marketing, “we immediately pulled out all of the stops to rectify this situation and have contacted our wholesale and retail partners, who are cooperating fully.”

The week’s major release:

The Matchmaker


Dispatched to Ireland to shore up a U.S. senator’s chances at reelection, a young woman (Janeane Garofalo) becomes the object of a matchmaker’s best efforts. The Irish are little more than stereotype, Denis Leary plays a manipulative jerk of a political adviser (type-casting at its very best - or worst) and very little happens that can’t be figured out by a 5-year-old. But if you like Garofalo, who is an acquired taste if ever there was one, then you’ll likely enjoy what you see here. Besides, there is one twist involving the Kennedy family that makes “The Matchmaker” nearly the workably clever political satire that it seems sometimes to want to be. As it is, it’s just a little romantic comedy whose cuteness factor is made palatable by Garofalo’s acidic manner. Rated R , DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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