Strained humor gives way to melodrama in this mawkish vehicle, which will quickly run out of gas.

Strained humor gives way to maudlin melodrama in dull Irish pic “Garage.” With heavy-handed poignancy and clearly indicated symbolism, this retread of a threadbare concept depicts the village life of a slightly brain-damaged man. Public and private Irish coin should ensure domestic interest, but on international scene — beyond the realm of French distributor MK2 — this mawkish vehicle will quickly run out of gas.

Small town, middle-age dullard Josie (Pat Shortt) lives alone in a humble gas station where he works for a pittance. An object of pity in his unnamed Irish midlands town and a target of jibes at the local pub, Josie is, in true movie cliche fashion, a kind-hearted soul who believes he’s a friend to all. Lumbered by his employer with assistant 15-year-old David (Conor Ryan), Josie tries to teach the boy the ropes and a friendship develops between the two. Narrative plods along providing easy laughs, and when script eventually reveals its dramatic intentions, scenario is blandly obvious. Helming is unremarkable. In an awkward perf, Irish comedian Pat Shortt struggles with the ill-conceived central role. Other thesps are fine but Stateside, Irish accents will be problematic. Other tech credits are pro.



  • Production: An Irish Film Board presentation in association with Film4, RTE, Broadcasting Commission of Ireland of an Element Films production. (International sales: MK2, Paris.) Produced by Ed Guiney. Executive producers, Andrew Lowe, Peter Carlton. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Screenplay, Mark O'Halloran.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Peter Robertson; editor, Isobel Stephenson; music, Stephen Rennicks; production designer, Padraig O'Neill). Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 19, 2007. Running time: 85 MIN.
  • With: With: Pat Shortt, Conor Ryan, Anne-Marie Duff, Don Wycherley, Denis Conway, Tom Hickey.