Spin the Bottle

A working-class comedy, "Spin the Bottle" snuggles itself a bit too comfortably into tired routines. Centered on a ragamuffin and recidivist named Rats, a character developed by writer/actor Michael McElhatton in an Irish TV series, pic sports a strong cast struggling to keep the overextended skit afloat. Satirizing a succession of trends, from singing nuns to satanic rock groups, "Bottle" appears unlikely to translate into off-Isle biz.

With:
With: Michael McElhatton, Pat Leavy, Peter MacDonald, Bronagh Gallagher, Donal O'Kelly.

An amiable dimwit working-class comedy, “Spin the Bottle” snuggles itself a wee bit too comfortably into tired routines. Centered on a ragamuffin and loveable recidivist named Rats, an appealing character originally developed by writer/actor Michael McElhatton in a popular Irish TV series, pic sports a strong cast manfully struggling to keep the overextended skit afloat. Unaccountably satirizing a succession of obsolete trends, from singing nuns to satanic rock groups, “Bottle” appears unlikely to translate into off-Isle biz.

Upon his latest release from Montjoy prison, Rats find his home invaded by guitar-strumming nuns and assorted pious cripples (one of whom dumps his crutches to abscond with the money collected to send Rats’ dangerously obese aunt to Lourdes). A series of flings with gainful employment attest to Rats’ chronic social cluelessness. Rats reassembles his former rock band, Spermdotcom, and crashes a TV music contest, blowing away the competition with his composition “Miracles Not Slimming Pills.” He wins and in the process lands the band in the slammer and further demonstrates the dubious wisdom of using a running-gag as a cinematic structuring principle.

Spin the Bottle

Ireland

Production: A Grand Pictures Ltd. production for RTE in association with Xtra-vision/Ipso Facto Films and the Irish Film Board. Produced by Michael Garland. Directed by Ian FitzGibbon. Screenplay, FitzGibbon, Michael McElhatton.

Crew: Camera (color), Owen McPolin; editor, Grainne Gavigan; music, John McPhillips. Reviewed at Film Fleadh, New York, March 19, 2004. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Michael McElhatton, Pat Leavy, Peter MacDonald, Bronagh Gallagher, Donal O'Kelly.

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