When Brendan Met Trudy

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The ViewWellington Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/05/2001

4 stars out of 5
Running time: 95 mins

Bright, breezy, above-average romantic comedy sharply scripted and with some superb laugh-out-loud gags.

When Brendan Met Trudy may be directed by Kieron J. Walsh, but it’s Roddy Doyle’s name that’s splashed all over the posters, with good reason – the stamp of the man who wrote The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van is all over this film. As such, it’s something of a little comic gem – peppered with film references and offbeat moments that will send you out of the cinema with a big grin on your face.

The film stars Peter McDonald as Brendan – an introverted schoolteacher whose pastimes include watching old movies and singing in a choir. Until, that is, he meets Trudy (vibrant newcomer Flora Montgomery), who blasts into his life and drags him along for the ride.

Trudy brings some much-needed excitement to Brendan, but is she somehow connected to the masked psychopath that’s been castrating men and leaving banners declaring ‘Revenge of the Women’? Or does she have an altogether different secret?

When Brendan Met Trudy is, as the title suggests, a romantic comedy that’s chock-full of film references, reflecting Doyle’s own love of the movies. Fortunately, Doyle and Walsh have seen fit to include clips from all the relevant films, so none of the references come across as being overly obscure and they add to the film rather than detract from it.

The acting is excellent – McDonald has a likeable screen presence (his comeback to a schoolchild’s taunt is priceless) and Montgomery gives a suitably bonkers performance that perfectly encapsulates the attraction of someone who is ever-so-slightly dangerous.

There’s good support too, notably from Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle from Father Ted) as Brendan’s disapproving aunt and from Barry Cassin who steals several scenes as Brendan’s headmaster.

The acid test question for any romantic comedy is does the romance work and is it funny? In this case the answer is a resounding yes to both. As such, it’s head and shoulders above any of the latest crop of Hollywood rom-coms (see The Wedding Planner, or rather, don’t) and easily matches Bridget Jones’s Diary in the feel-good stakes.

There are lots of superb gags and laugh-out-loud moments throughout, but watch especially for the hilarious final sequence when we find out what happened to all the characters ‘after’ the film.

To sum up, then, this is well-worth seeking out. It’s a small film and it won’t be breaking any box-office records, but it’s a well-made, decent romantic comedy that deserves to find an audience. A perfect date-movie. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 23/11/2019 07:53

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