Matchmaker, The

The Matchmaker, directed by Mark Joffe, stars Janeane Garofalo as
Marcy Tizard, campaign worker for Senator John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders) of
Massachusetts. McGlory is running behind in his re-election battle on account of
some unspecified outrages against family values, and his campaign manager, Nick
(Dennis Leary), dreams up the brilliant scheme of sending Marcy to the west of
Ireland to look up his moronic boss’s
supposed Irish roots. “If we play our
cards right,” says the senator,
going to end up like Kennedy.” Then a
pause. “Only, you know,
alive.” Not too surprisingly, however,
the search for his roots only succeeds in making him look even more a fool and
Nick the evil genius behind the scenes that the Hollywood Weltanschauung
naturally requires. “I always thought
that you were just really good at your
job,” says the Senator to Nick;
“but you really are an a******,

Marcy arrives in the little village where the
Senator’s father told him the family
comes from in the middle of a Matchmaking Festival. This provides an opportunity
to show off the quaint Irish ways and the funny Irish characters and, of course,
to produce a romantic Irishman for Marcy to fall in love with. The trouble is
that the matchmaking festival never really makes any dramatic sense and is in
any case swiftly forgotten. One industrious matchmaker called Dermot (Milo
O’Shea) does take a bet from his
rival, Millie (Rosaleen Linehan), that he can bring together
Yank,” Marcy, and the romantic
Irishman, Sean (David O’Hara). But the
other relationships and potential match-ups in the village are far too sketchy
to make much of an impression. Even Dermot is a caricature, another of the
quaint Irishmen who, when they aren’t
making pratfalls or otherwise looking foolish, cease to be interesting to the
American camera’s short attention

Worse than this, Marcy isn’t very
attractive. Not only is she short and chubby and dressed in something that looks
like turnip sacking, she doesn’t even
have anything very interesting to say. Her forte, as she obviously
doesn’t have the looks of the
glamourpusses of her generation, was supposed to be her wit and her
intelligence. Wasn’t it? But neither
gets much of an outing here. Likewise, Dennis Leary is often a funny guy, but he
hasn’t got anything funny to say in
this picture. And Sean, like the rest of the locals, works so hard at being
Irish that it’s not very easy to like
him either. He and Marcy have a brief argument about
“making a
difference” (how she thinks
she’s doing that working for McGlory
is unclear), but it is left unresolved. Nor do we have any clue what moral
predicament has taught Sean the lesson that
“Sometimes the easy way out is the
right way out.”

Maybe it’s just an old Irish
saying, like the one that says love is
“like gum in your hair; it comes out
eventually.” But it could also be an
excuse for the film’s taking the easy
way out. At any rate, it certainly does so. Very predictably, the lovers are
prised apart by means of an ex-wife (Saffron Burrows), a gratuitous and unfunny
fist-fight between Sean and his brother and an equally dreary comic car chase.
Equally predictably, they then get back together in the good old USA. Nor do I
hope it will shock anyone to hear that it disposes of the ex-wife and at the
same time engineers an upset victory for the Senator with the slogan:
proud to say the world is my family.”
If such an easy way out had taken us by way of a few laughs, it might even have
been the right way, but not many people will come out of this movie thinking


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