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When Brendan Met Trudy

     Novelist Roddy Dowell, that valiant comic chronicler of Dublin blue-collar life (The Commitments, The Snapper), comes up lazy with his commonplace first original for When Brendan Met Trudy, a screwball tale of improbable lovers set in a bland middle-class milieu. Brendan (Peter McDonald), pale and meek, leads a sedate life as a teacher at a Dublin boys' school. His major excitements are singing archaic songs in a chorus and, by himself, attending old, old movies, especially those in which "Duke" Wayne charms the ladies. But there are no women for Brendan, until, at a pub one night, he meets the mysterious Trudy (Flora Montgomery), who might or might not teach in a Montessori school, might or might not be a demonic night-time castrator of innocent men, might or might not be a cat burglar. For whatever reason, she falls for dull, prissy Brendan and they have the most coy, unconvincing, and uncharming of affairs. The humor is thin and strained: Brendan's straightlaced mom discovering the word "motherfucker." The director, Kieron Walsh, a veteran of award-winning commercials, is an invisible presence. All in all: a bomb for its producer, the BBC.

(Boston Phoenix, March, 2001)


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