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In the Bronx, Joe, an Irish good guy, gets bad news twice the same day: he has a brain tumor and his wife wants a divorce, saying he's dull and lacks adventure. With her father's blessing, Joe takes off for adventures in the weeks before risky surgery. In Louisville, he's latched onto by Hush, a talkative belle with two kids, big debts to a nasty bookie, and few prospects. Even after she steals his wallet, Joe offers temporary help, bonds with her kids, and faces down the bookie. Soon Hush, Joe, and the kids are on the run toward Vegas. The bookie's on their tail, so are some Bronx bad guys, cancer lurks, Hush has her gambling jones, and the kids want stability. Can this work out? Written by
Due to a special affection for Scottish comedy legend Billy Connolly, I saw Beautiful Joe. I love low budget film and I love a good heart tugging story. Connolly's Joe is a charming character that one can't help but like from the films opening. A Scot playing an Irishman amused me, particularly that the extent of his Irish accent was to say "Tanks" instead of "Thanks", but Connolly's charm sees this of little annoyance. Sharon Stone, who I normally don't care for, hits all the right notes in a very good performance as the tough as nails barhopping single mother. The two leads play off each other wonderfully without being drawn into the sentimentality of the piece. The two child actors are also first rate, particularly in their scenes with Connolly. Ian Holm, Dan Florek and Gil Bellows provide some lovely touches in their small roles. The problem? The script is quite predictable and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put it together. The unforgivable aspect however, is the constant view of the boom microphone in the shot. This doesn't happen just once, it happens several times and so obtrusively that it detracts from the viewers ability to get stuck into and believe the film (at least with this viewer it did). That aspect tainted the film badly, which is a shame because the work of Connolly and Stone is truly first rate. Visible boom microphone aside, Beautiful Joe is well worth seeing as a nice feel good film with some top notch acting.
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