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About 10 years ago, Comedy Central used to have a talk show that highlighted stand up comics. It was like the Letterman show, but only comics were guests, they got to do their act and, then, spent some time being interviewed. One night, Janeane Garofalo walked out onto the stage, laid down on the couch and turned her appearance into a mock therapy session that was one of the funniest talk show appearances I have ever seen. Since that night, I have been a big fan.
After a great performance in the film Reality Bites, a wonderful film for anyone in college or just graduated, she has been in a few romantic comedies, including The Truth About Cats and Dogs and this week's choice, The Matchmaker. It's an appealing film shot in Roundstone, Ireland that will make you yearn to spend your next vacation in the beautiful, scenic country.
Marcy (Garofalo) works in Boston as an advisor to Senator John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders). Not very bright and somewhat shady, the Senator's reelection bid is threatened by rumors that he is not really Irish and has been lying about his lineage to gain support of the influential Irish population in Massachusetts. Marcy has been assigned the task of going to Ireland to find any living relative that can confirm that the McGlory family is Irish.
Unfortunately for lonely Marcy, she has arrived during the Matchmaking Festival when lonely men and women travel to this small Irish town to find love and happiness. A very attractive woman, Marcy finds herself the object of affection for many men, which hinders her search for the McGlory family. A local professional matchmaker, Declan O'Brian (Milo O'Shea), secretly wagers that he can match up Marcy and Sean (David O'Hara), a local who has been annoying her since she arrived in Ireland.
Can Marcy and Sean find true love? Will Marcy find a member of the McGlory family and save the Senator's reelection bid?
Two stories are at work here, but they go together in a very recognizable way for anyone who has been involved in politics or a time consuming job. Marcy wonders why she is still involved in politics, and feels she has strayed from her original goal of making the world a better place. Somewhere along the line, winning at any cost became more important than staying true to her values and having a personal life. When she arrives in Ireland, she learns the beauty of living a slower paced, honest life focused on self-satisfaction and love instead of working to make someone else, the Senator, happy and successful.
Jeaneane Garofalo is wonderful in this role, but always seems to be trying to avoid lighthearted, romantic comedies. I have often seen her complain in interviews that she wants to stay away from romantic comedies, but she is well suited for the roles. An attractive woman, but not unattainable like a supermodel, she has a warmth and charm that radiates off the screen. She's the girl next door that you can pal around with and fall in love with.
Jay O. Sanders steals the show with his performance as the dim-witted Senator McGlory. Oblivious, or turning the other cheek, to the dirty tricks his campaign manager (Denis Leary) is pulling, Sanders' character reminds me of many politicians who are willing to do anything to win, but will use third parties to keep their own hands clean.
A little predictable at the end, but a fun ride. Check out The Matchmaker this weekend.
The Matchmaker: B
Director: Mark Joffe
Writers: Karen Janszen, Louis Nowra and Graham Linehan
Janeane Garofalo Marcy
Denis Leary Nick
David O'Hara . Sean
Milo O'Shea ... Declan O'Brien
Rosaleen Linehan .... Millie
Jay O. Sanders Senator John McGlory
Saffron Burrows .. Moira Kelly
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