Wild About Harry


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Hollywood would have eaten this up. The concept of a second chance is so much their bag right now, not exactly magic realism, but magic nevertheless.

What goes wrong with this Irish version is a script that leaks. Despite drastic rewrites and help from every quarter, including the producers, the result is warm-hearted but wayward.

Harry (Brendan Gleeson) is a TV chef, who drinks like a fish and sleeps with anything that moves. His wife Ruth (Amanda Donohoe) has had enough after 25 years of disharmony. It seems incredible she lasted so long.

Before the divorce can be ratified, he has a seizure that leaves him comatose for a week. When he comes round, he can't remember a thing. He thinks he's 18, falls in love with Ruth again, stops drinking and becomes... nice.

The idea is great and the performances by Gleeson and Donohoe are terrific, but scriptwriter Colin Bateman sets up situations and then watches them slip away. Harry's relationship with his teenage kids are toyed with, but never followed through. There is real potential here, as his son thinks he's a prat and his daughter gives him tips on how to win mum back. Also, his lawyer and best friend (Adrian Dunbar) is an unmade character. He could have been a foil for Harry, but ends up as a talking head.

The biggest waste is the MP, Walter Adair, who is humiliated on Harry's show and vows vengeance. James Nesbitt plays him like a pantomime villain, completely out of sync with the rest of the cast. Director Declan Lowney was responsible for every Father Ted episode and Adair belongs there, rather than here.

This is a movie about trust and what happens when it's lost. It shouldn't have tried so hard to be funny.

Reviewed on: 25 Oct 2001
Share this with others on...
Wild About Harry packshot
A popular TV chef, on the brink of divorce, loses his memory and falls in love again.
Amazon link

Director: Declan Lowney

Writer: Colin Bateman

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Amanda Donohoe, James Nesbitt, Adrian Dunbar, George Wendt, Bronagh Gallagher, Paul Barber, Ruth McCabe

Year: 2000

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Ireland


Search database: