Dublin deliveryman Hubert Flynn feels peaked. Home from the pub, he lies down; while his nagging wife Conchita looks on, he turns into a rat. She's chafed at how inconsiderate he is: hardly touching his food the next morning and leaving droppings on the good doilies. With curiosity seekers outside the flat and a writer at the door offering to help Conchita turn her story into a book, she calls a family meeting. Her seminary-bound son Pius wants to kill the rat; other family members are ambivalent. They opt to hurl Hubert over the fence of a maggot farm. Christmas approaches; an exorcism is in the cards, and the book becomes the Holy Grail. What of Hubert's conversion? Written by
Seventy years ago, me grandfather, Hubert Flynn Foster, set out from his home in the County Wexford, and joining north over the hills and valleys of Whitlock, until he came to Dublin City.
I remember once, when I was a chiseler, he caught me whittlin' up against the wall. And he told me if I behaved like a dog, I might turn into a dog. And then he was off on one of his old yarns about people he knew that turned into goats and weasels. Of course we ran afoul, he said, of more than ...
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When their father Hubert suddenly turns into a rat, his family don't really know how to react, apart from putting him in a cage. When a journalist convinces them to write a book, he moves in and starts to mould their emotions to exploit the situation for fame and fortune.
The key to this film is in the imaginative set up and the funny telling rather than the actual plot itself. In terms of plot the film runs out of steam a little towards the end where it seems to realise that plotting hasn't been the main driving force of the film. What does drive the film is that it is laugh out loud funny almost all the way through. If you like the sort of Irish humour and characters then you'll like this a lot. The idea of being turned into a rat isn't really explained but this doesn't really matter.
The characters are all excellent, although Postlethwaite is really little more than cameo for most of the film, his part being played rather well by various white rats! Staunton is the strongest character and has captured the hard love of an Irish mother very well focused on the practicals despite circumstances (a priest is called to the rat and she throws it in the washing machine so his dirty fur won't shame the family, `it's ok, he's on wool' she assures a concerned family member). Her character is hilarious throughout. Kelly (Father Jack) is strong in a small role, but Wilmot's character is less clear but seems to be the one that the plot is riding on. The kids' roles are pretty funny and the support cast of Irish stereotypes all do what they are expected to do.
When I watched this movie on TV I had never heard of it and I wonder how many people have actually seen it, it's a shame because this is really funny and worth seeing despite the fact that the actual plot itself is not as strong as the laughs deserve. Overall this is very funny throughout if you like the Father Ted style of slightly exaggerated Irish humour.
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