Review: ‘Re-inventing Eddie’

The blend of situational comedy and harsh realism that may have enticed auds to Dennis Lumborg's West End play "One Find Day" withers under the microscope of the camera lens in its bigscreen incarnation, "Re-inventing Eddie." It's hard to imagine often irreverent treatment of this hot-button topic playing well with unprepared auds.

The blend of situational comedy and harsh realism that may have enticed auds to Dennis Lumborg’s West End play “One Find Day” withers under the microscope of the camera lens in its bigscreen incarnation, “Re-inventing Eddie.” John Lynch does his best in the role of a bighearted father mistakenly investigated on child abuse charges and thus separated from his brood, but it’s hard to imagine often irreverent treatment of the hottest of hot-button topics playing well with auds unprepared for the tonal clash. Good regional play is likely, with strong tube and ancillary interest based on the subject matter.

Affable and upbeat, the free-spirited Eddie (Lynch) often exasperates his loving wife of nearly eight years, Jeanie (Geraldine Somerville), with his blunt approach to communication in general and child-rearing in particular. One of his favorite bath-time games to play with young children Katie and Billy (Lauren Cook, Ben Thompson) is “Rough Granny,” during which he dons a towel and shower cap to chase them around the house until they’re dry. When Katie’s drawing of this ritual raises a red flag at school, a social worker is sent to investigate, drawing Eddie’s ill-advised ire and forcing him to take drastic measures to win back the family from which he’s been forcibly removed.

Lynch’s mischievous playing and honest confusion over his fate almost carries the day. Yet the underlying implications of the story — which, in the end, makes it clear Eddie is nothing more than a free spirit — don’t lend themselves to comedy. Tech credits are evocative, with the windswept coast of Wales providing a rugged backdrop for action in the late reels.

Re-inventing Eddie

Ireland-U.K.

Production

A BBG Pictures production in association with Great British Films. (International sales: BV Intl. Pictures, Avaldsnes, Norway.) Produced by Ian Brady, Elaine Grainger, Jonny Boston. Executive producer, David Rogers. Directed by Jim Doyle. Screenplay, Ian Brady, Doyle, based on the play "One Fine Day" by Dennis Lumborg.

Crew

Camera (Fuji color, widescreen), Damian Bromley; editor, Andy Loftus; music, Mark Thomas; production design, Sue Booth; art director, Clara Zita; sound (Dolby), Steve Hayward. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (World Cinema: Reflections of Our Time), Aug. 25, 2002. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

John Lynch, Geraldine Sommerville, John Thompson, Ian Mercer, Lauren Cook, Ben Thompson, Judith Barker.
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