Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Independent Film Guide - M

The Matchmaker Movie Review

marcy garofalo john “cousins”

The plot for The Matchmaker is straight out of a screwball comedy. Senator John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders) sends his assistant Marcy Tizard (Janeane Garofalo) to Ireland in search of his relatives. His re-election campaign in Massachusetts is in trouble and his strategy is to evoke John F. Kennedy's trip to Ireland in 1963. A few video clips of the Senator with his “cousins” and he'll be a living legend in Boston, just like you know who. That's the plan, anyway. Marcy lands in Ballinagra in the middle of the annual Matchmaking Festival. A great way to meet McGlory “cousins,” right? Wrong, never wronger. Lots of guys want to propose to Marcy, but the “cousins” are elusive. Never mind, says cynical campaign manager Nick (Denis Leary). We'll hire them! That doesn't work, either, since the paid “cousins” clearly don't know how to behave when they're being videotaped in the same room as a would-be living legend who's trying to pull off an election scam. Politicians being politicians, a pragmatic solution is soon found. Meanwhile, Marcy falls in love with a local bloke named Sean (David O'Hara) and vice versa. Three screenwriters (script doctors?) receive credit for working on Greg Dinner's original screenplay, and the results are flaky. A genuine screwball comedy plays fast but writes slow because it demands such precise craftsmanship. It's a good thing that Garofalo is front and center for most of the running time, because her intuitive understanding of screwball comedy is what makes The Matchmaker work. Except for some sparkling work by Milo O'Shea as Dermot the Matchmaker and Jimmy Keogh as a local nut named O'Hara, it is mainly Garofalo's personality that makes this movie funny. She's working in a minefield of quirky, cute, and quaint cliches, but she nimbly works around them. One arched eyebrow or radiant smile or dry riposte from her and we care what happens to Marcy and forget about everything else. For that reason alone, The Matchmaker is a pleasant, painless way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon.

1997 (R) 97m/C Janeane Garofalo, Milo O'Shea, David O'Hara, Denis Leary, Jay O. Sanders, Rosaleen Linehan, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Saffron Burrows, Paul Hickey, Jimmy Keogh; D: Mark Joffe; W: Louis Nowra, Karen Janszen, Graham Linehan, Greg Dinner; C: Ellery Ryan; M: John Altman. VHS, Closed Caption

Matewan Movie Review [next] [back] Matador Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or