*½/**** Image A Sound A Extras A
starring Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy
screenplay by Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais and Roddy Doyle
directed by Alan Parker
by Walter Chaw Alan Parker likes to use his platform as a film director to preach about all manner of society's more obvious ails, reserving the bulk of his ham-fisted proselytizing for the problems he himself identifies as endemic to the United States: hedonism and drug abuse (The Wall, Midnight Express); the price of a culture of fame (The Wall, Fame); the price of Vietnam and our broken social services system (Birdy); the rampant Yankee tragedy of divorce (Shoot the Moon); racism (Mississippi Burning, Come See the Paradise); our love/hate/fear relationship with food (The Road to Wellville); and, most recently (and egregiously), the death penalty (The Life of David Gale). When Parker manages to shut his hole long enough to pack his ponderous, moronic disdain back across the pond, the films he produces there (Angela's Ashes, The Commitments) are weepy prole sagas highlighting the determination of grubby Dickensian urchins toiling in the underbelly of failed capitalism--which, in Parker's mind, is probably America's fault, too. Poor baby. I'm not sure what's made Parker an expert on fixing the United States (something to do with his background as a commercial director, I suspect), but I for one am just so grateful for his insight.