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The Brothers McMullen Movie Review

catholic irish burns jack

This overpraised indie about three Irish Catholic brothers in Long Island, New York, is a guaranteed button pusher for Irish Catholic women, which is why I originally disqualified myself from reviewing it. (Hey, is anyone out there laboring under the delusion that movie reviewers are objective ROBOTS? Dream on, baby!) Ed Burns’ next movie, She's the One, was widely panned, but the fact is they're both practically the same AVERAGE movie. Shortly before the release of the very funny date movie, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Janeane Garafalo did stand-up at San Francisco's Punch Line and UNrecommended this one as a date movie. It is mortally depressing to think of guys as adolescents from the obstetrics ward to the funeral parlor, but The Brothers McMullen reinforces this largely accepted (and often true) myth about Irish Catholic men. That's why Irish Catholic women (often) hesitate before marrying them. Jack is married to a perfectly nice woman and has an affair with an irresponsible hedonist (or so Burns’ script suggests) who IS responsible for two things: Jack's lapse from (1) his religious faith, and (2) his marital vows. Barry wants to be a writer and his perfectly nice girlfriend will interfere with that (or so Burns’ script suggests), so quite a lot of screen time is devoted to that. Patrick is engaged to marry a Jewish-American princess, whose father would set him up for life, but he's seriously interested in a (lapsed Catholic) woman who wants to hit the road with him if he'll pay for half of the new car. Oh, and did you know that it's easy to be a Good Catholic if you marry your one True Love? Got an extra 98 minutes for burning issues like these? How about 193 minutes for a mediocre double feature that also includes She's the One? (Newcomer Maxine Bahns is charming in each flick.)

1994 (R) 98m/C Edward Burns, Jack Mulcahy, Mike McGlone, Connie Britton, Shari Albert, Elizabeth P. McKay, Maxine Bahns, Jennifer Jostyn, Catharine Bolt, Peter Johansen; D: Edward Burns; W: Edward Burns; C: Dick Fisher; M: Seamus Egan. Independent Spirit Awards ‘96: Best First Feature; Sundance Film Festival ‘95: Grand Jury Prize. VHS, Closed Caption

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