DUBBY’S DVDDISCUSSION: Weekend of ‘prime’ comedy
Meryl Streep as an over-the-top Jewish mother, Uma Thurman is delighted and shocked by her Toy Boy love superbly played by Bryan Greenberg, and Madhur Jaffery in a cameo makes, Prime steamroll over minor quibbles and makes for a worthwhile dramady.
Over to critic Jeff Shannon, “Bolstered by an appealing cast and the comedic genius of Streep, Prime is an above-average ‘rom-com’ that never stoops to compromise. The plot by writer/director Ben Younger is a bit whimsical, but once he’s established that 37-year-old Gentile divorcee Rafi Gardet (Thurman) is unknowingly dating the 23-year-old son (Greenberg) of her Jewish psychotherapist (Streep), the unlikely premise gets an intelligent workout, touching upon all issues that would realistically emerge as their dilemma is taken to its logical (or illogical) extremes. As a pair of genuinely devoted lovers in their sexual prime (hence the title), Thurman and Greenberg make this movie a constant joy to watch. But it’s Streep’s mastery of multi-layered expression and subtle comedic timing that makes Prime so engaging.”
A combination of Mary Poppins gone murderous added to movies like Arse-nic and Old Lace make Kee-ping Mum one of the few black British comedies that provides a giggle or three, while Maggie Smith he-ads an ensemble English cast with Patrick Swayze thrown in for lecherous laughs.
Writes British film insider Anna Smith, “Keeping Mum is ambitious. Attempting to mix black humour with light rural comedy, it sees housekeeper Grace (Smith) revealed as both a serial killer and the answer to all her employer’s woes. Vicar’s wife Gloria (Scott Thomas) has two clearly signaled problems. One is a neighbour’s barking dog that keeps her awake at night, the other is a husband, reverend Walter Goodfellow (Rowan Atkinson) with no interest in sex. While attempting to find solace in an affair with brash American golf pro Lance (Swayze), she is quietly aided by Grace, who deals with dog, vicar and golf pro in her own ways — some more subtle than others. Grace is a fixer, a firm but caring Mary Poppins figure. That she is also a killer is the source of humour, and Smith’s deadpan delivery renders several exchanges amusing. ‘You can’t go round killing people just because you don’t approve to them,’ Gloria tells Grace. ‘That’s what my doctors used to say,’ the housekeeper replies with a tone of absent-minded regret.”
Another fixer is Steve Coogan in a star studded movie that’s funny enough to see twice to sort out the complications of a crazy murder, a mad dad, a mystery killer and a host of puzzling complications.
Cristy Lytal reported, “When it came time to pitch their directorial debut The Alibi, Kurt Mattila and Matt Checkowski (Spielberg protégés) armed themselves with 40 pages of detailed storyboards, drawings, and images to capture the tone of a modern noir set in Los Angeles.”
Coogan is a retired grifter who runs a service that facilitates people’s extramarital affairs by providing alibis. “I always play people who wear bad clothes and have bad hair,” says Coogan, who has earned comparisons to Peter Sellers. “Playing someone who drives a nice car, wears nice suits, and actually has a semblance of cool about him is something I’ve never done before. This is my one shot at changing the record!”