Susan Granger's review of "THE CLOSER YOU GET" (Fox Searchlight)
After producer Umberto Pasolini made The Full Monty about four unemployed Englishmen, he turned his attention to Ireland, where five frustrated, Guinness-guzzling bachelors feel they're sorely in need of spicy female companionship. Every night, they meet at the pub and bemoan the lack of eligible women around. To that end, they place an ad in The Miami Herald, inviting any and every adventurous "fit and healthy" American woman to visit their remote, rustic fishing village on the west coast. Object: matrimony. It's an action that precipitates much consternation among the local Irish womenfolk. Of course, the romantic fantasy is a lot of blarney because you know exactly what's going to happen long before it does in William Ivory's whimsical script which is based on a story by Herbie Wave. Ian Hart, who played John Lennon in Backbeat and the detective in The End of the Affair, is the ring-leader, Kieran O'Donnagh, a butcher who doesn't seem to notice that his feisty female assistant Siobhan (Cathleen Bradley) secretly adores him. His sheep-farming brother Ian (Sean McGinley) also doesn't seem to notice that the right woman for him is pouring drinks just across the bar. And so it goes. Is this another Waking Ned Devine? No - but first-time film director Aileen Ritchie keeps it frothy, particularly when Bo Derek's 10 unspools at the church's movie night instead of The Ten Commandments. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Closer You Get is an engaging, amusing 7, proving "the closer you get to something, the harder it is to see."
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