Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Barry Munday - EIFF - 21/6/10 - Cineworld

Patrick Wilson is fast becoming a real favourite of mine.

I'm sure he'll be delighted to hear that.

"Hard Candy", "Little Children" and "Watchmen" are all films that could feature in my list of favourite films.

What is most interesting about Wilson is that he has managed to avoid becoming any particular type of actor...he isn't "the hunk" or "the weirdo" or any other label. What he is, is a very fine actor, capable of creating characters that the audience can believe in. It isn't every actor who would take on a role like "Jeff" in "Hard Candy"...there aren't many redeeming qualities about a paedophile and one cannot imagine it being a role that created "buzz" in Tinseltown. But I get the feeling that Wilson cares not a jot about how people, studios or executives perceive him; he wants to take on roles that interest him and that challenge him...come back to me after "The A-Team" to see if I've changed my mind on that.

Here Wilson plays the eponymous "hero" of the film, the sort of awkward loser who thinks he is a wow with the lay-deeeez but who, in reality, is far from it. Sure he has moments of "success" but they are fewer and further apart than he would like to admit. Following an incident in a cinema that involves an irate father and a trumpet Barry finds himself sans testicles and he has to face up to life without them and what they represent to him.

Shortly after this he receives a letter informing him that he is the alleged father of an as yet unborn baby...the result of a very drunken encounter with Ginger (Judy Greer) who isn't exactly the sort of "babe" Barry likes to convince himself he is successful with. But stripped of his manhood and aware of his being the end of the family line Barry throws himself into the role of father and in the process begins to fall for Ginger.

On the surface this may look like a Judd Appatappapappatoe movie in the vein of a "Knocked Up" but this is a world away from that. This is tender, funny, sweet, romantic and full of ruminations on the nature of manhood, family relationships and love. With a supporting cast that includes Cybil Shepherd, Malcolm McDowell and Chloe Sevigny this is also a film that has enough quality to ensure that it never slips anywhere below excellent.

What really makes this film is the relationship between, and the performances of, Wilson and Greer. It's a real treat to watch two people with so much talent playing opposite one another. The slow thawing in their relationship is a joy to watch and is never less than convincing. For Greer it is the sort of performance that could propel her to household name status and for Wilson it simply cements my feeling that he is one of the most talented actors working today.

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