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Man About Dog

Three Belfast pals head south to win big money on a greyhound in "Man About Dog," an amiable but rarely very funny road movie. A hit in Ireland since its Oct. 1 release, grossing some $1.3 million, film looks too small and local to make much impression on U.K. tracks with early November release.

With:
With: Allen Leech, Tom Murphy, Ciaran Nolan, Sean McGinley, Pat Shortt, Fionnula Flanagan.

Three Belfast pals head south to win big money on a greyhound in “Man About Dog,” an amiable but rarely very funny road movie. Chockful of Oirish backtalk and rough humor — much of it unintelligible, due to the muddy soundtrack and strong accents — this plays rather like helmer Paddy Breathnach’s earlier pic, “I Go Down” (1997), but without the violence. A hit in Ireland since its Oct. 1 release, grossing some $1.3 million, film looks too small and local to make much impression on U.K. tracks with early November release.

After screwing over a crooked bookie, J.P. McCallion (Sean McGinley), at a greyhound meet, young chancers Mo Chara (Allen Leech), Scud (Ciaran Nolan) and Paulsy (Tom Murphy) are threatened with permanent extinction unless they pay McCallion back the $80,000 he lost. Fleeing across the border to Ireland in hopes of making serious money on a greyhound they’ve acquired, the trio finds said mutt is better at hare coursing than straight running, requiring several changes of plans with McCallion (plus others they’ve cheated) on their trail. Leech makes a charismatic narrator-cum-lead; tech credits are basic.

Man About Dog

U.K.-Ireland

Production: A Redbus Film Distribution release of a Potboiler Prods., Treasure Entertainment, Irish Film Board, Visionview presentation, in association with Future Films, Redbus Films and Element X, of a Potboiler Prods. (U.K.)/Treasure Entertainment (Ireland) production. (International sales: Element X, London.) Produced by Simon Channing Williams, Robert Walpole. Directed by Paddy Breathnach. Screenplay, Pearse Elliott.

Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Cian de Buitlear; editor, Dermot Diskin; music, Hugh Drumm, Stephen Rennicks; production designer, Paki Smith; supervising art director, David Bryan; costume designer, Lorna Marie Mugan. Reviewed at London Film Festival (New British Cinema), Oct. 30, 2004. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Allen Leech, Tom Murphy, Ciaran Nolan, Sean McGinley, Pat Shortt, Fionnula Flanagan.

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