Self-consciously movieish to a fault, "When Brendan Met Trudy," Kieron J. Walsh's feature debut, is an offbeat, mildly engaging Irish romantic comedy that panders to its viewers. Based on the first original script by Roddy Doyle ("The Commitments"), storyfollows the peculiar affair between Brendan (Peter McDonald), a teacher and movie buff, and Trudy (Flora Montgomery), a petty burglar, after their awkward meeting in a pub. There may be a small theatrical audience for this intermittently funny movie anchored by strong perfs.

Self-consciously movieish to a fault, “When Brendan Met Trudy,” Kieron J. Walsh’s feature debut, is an offbeat, mildly engaging Irish romantic comedy that panders to its viewers. Based on the first original script by Roddy Doyle (“The Commitments”), storyfollows the peculiar affair between Brendan (Peter McDonald), a teacher and movie buff, and Trudy (Flora Montgomery), a petty burglar, after their awkward meeting in a pub. There may be a small theatrical audience for this intermittently funny movie anchored by strong perfs.

Almost every scene recreates or alludes to a Hollywood or foreign classic, from opening shot in which Brendan lies face down in a puddle on a Dublin street, imitating William Holden in “Sunset Boulevard.” Story flashes back to how he got to this point and became involved with Trudy’s criminal life. Rather schematically, pic tests the theory that opposites attract. Predictably, the encounter between Brendan’s family and the unrestrained Trudy leads to arguments and splits. Recreations of scenes from “Breathless” and “The Searcher” are amusing, but writing and direction are uneven, and last reel, in which the imprisoned Trudy asks Brendan to sing “Panis Angelicus,” strikes a fake note.

When Brendan Met Trudy

U.K.-Ireland

Production

A Collins Avenue/Deadly Films 2 production. (International sales: The Sales Company, London.) Produced by Lynda Myles. Directed by Kieron J. Walsh. Screenplay, Roddy Doyle.

Crew

Camera (color), Ashley Rowe; editor, Scott Thomas; music, Richard Hartley; production designer, Fiona Daly; art director, Susie Collen; costume designer, Consolata Boyle. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 12, 2000. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Peter McDonald, Flora Montgomery, Marie Mullen, Pauline McLynn, Don Wycherley.
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