|Index||9 reviews in total|
Great funny film, three men in Ireland, penniless and trying their luck
with hilarious results.
If you like gambling films, then you will love this film it has all the tension and keeps you on the edge of your seat, I could not help but cheer them on on their way.
This film is fast paced and action packed, you join them on the road in Ireland getting chased, getting into hilarious Situations, and trying to race their greyhound while they are at it.
I enjoyed this film very much and it made me laugh a lot, which I find that many films cannot manage these days.
I think that people outside the UK may have trouble understanding the broad Irish accents though, however that aside the three main characters were brilliant in their roles. I recommend this film very highly.
If you are easily offended by swearing then you might be advised to
avoid this movie, but if you do, you will miss the funniest film to
ever come out of Ireland.
'Man About Dog' is about three Belfast pals who acquire a greyhound, fall foul of a local bookie/gangster and head south to Clonmel for Ireland's biggest greyhound meeting. Along the way they have various hilarious adventures, including a bust up with a gang of Travellers and an encounter with a 'Viagra' type substance.
If you like dogs, watch it, if you enjoy a good laugh don't miss it. One of the funniest moments is where Gerry Adams replaces Queen Elizabeth on.............. Well, you'll just have to watch the movie to find the answer to that one.
The Irish director Paddy Breathnach has a keen visual sense and seems to me a born story-teller, (though he doesn't write his own material he shapes it in real cinematic terms). While "Man About Dog" isn't in the same class as his earlier "I went down", (that was written by the great young Irish playwright Conor McPherson), it is a highly engaging comedy road movie nevertheless. Allen Leech, Tom Murphy and Ciaran Nolan play three Belfast wide-boys on the make who inherit, lose and then re-inherit an extraordinary money-making greyhound called Ceberus. The plot is flimsy and one or two of the performances are shaky but the film has flash and a sense of energy. It is not strikingly original, (Breathnach borrows a bit too much from his better known American counterparts), but there is so much going on here and the lines have the poetry and raw humour of the vernacular, you are prepared to overlook the film's shortcomings. Give in and this is a comedy as robust as they come.
Well good harmless fun if you do not mind a lot of swearing (it is set in Ireland after all). This pleasant little film about three chancers acquiring a greyhound that they end up entering in Irelands biggest hare coursing festival is a well made piece of escapism from the humdrum of Belfast life. The film is well made running to a tight time scale with little to no wasted scenes, featuring good performances from a cast most of whom I was unfamiliar. Without ruining it for anyone this is the sort of film where you can see the end coming a mile off, but because of this fact it makes it harder for the director to entertain you which they manage with aplomb. Some viewers may have problems with the thick Irish accents but it is well worth persevering with.
A decent comedy following the misadventures of three young Belfast men
who happen into the world of hare coursing.
Stylistically, this has the feel of a lot of British and Irish films of the past decade. It's aimed at the same market that made Trainspotting, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch such big hits. On a number of occasions I thought this was overdone; it seemed to be trying too hard to be Belfast's answer to those films. This would be forgivable from a new director but it's less understandable from Paddy Breathnach.
The acting is excellent. Allen Leech does a good northern accent, although it's not quite West Belfast. The storyline is entirely unbelievable, but I wasn't expecting realism!
6 out of 10 because it's funny in spots, but not THAT funny. I also think that to really appreciate it you have to have some interest in gambling in general, and gambling on dogs in particular. If, like me, you have neither, you'll probably find it a bit difficult to get into.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saturday June 11, 6:45pm Uptown Theater Sunday June 12, 1:45pm Uptown
"You can pull a hair out of your arse, but you can't pull a rabbit."
Smalltime gangsters, bookies, gamblers, various nefarious henchmen and their assorted weapons served up in a thick dialect we Americans can just barely understand most of the time with an underdog hero who scrambles his way through fast breaking mishaps in a race to survive and make the "Big Score." Sound familiar? There was this Brit a few years back that made two hysterically funny flicks. He married some big pop star, made an awful turd of a movie with her and then all but disappeared. Ever since then I've been waiting for this same guy to come back with more like the first two. Well, there is a new movie. The catch is someone else made it. But if you're starving for a film in the same genre this is it with both barrels. Mo Chara sells everything under the damp gray Dublin sky from the back of his van but longs for bigger and better things. When a local bookie gives him a dog in exchange for a favor Mo and his mates are off to the races, the dog track that is, and a load of trouble. Director Paddy Breathnach uses all the slick polished and edgy style you remember in those other movies, funny character names like Mooney the Looney, Old Bland Joe, and his gorilla Sixteen Cracked Ribs, clever dialogue, a hip upbeat pop score, a ton of camera and editing trickery, and it works! A good solid storyline told in first person narrative by Mo, with a collection of mishaps and quirky friends propels us along what becomes a very satisfying and funny story. The stoner of the group Paulsy, nicknamed "Cerebral", delivers a hilarious pitch to an old lady who's advertised her cat in the classifieds. Of course kitty is part of another scheme to run all the dogs off the track in the middle of a race. Mo and his friends answer another ad for their first dog, go to a broken down old trailer and are given a pooch that looks equally bad. "Handsome is as handsome does" quips the dog's grimy owner. Mo soon dispatches this dog however, to the disapproval of his mates. There are some moments of dispassionate cruelty, "Come on Boots. Dead dog walking," but we never see it on screen and the tone of the film shows more sentimental fondness for dogs than abuse. Recall the treatment of dogs in those other movies and this also is very similar. The boys are threatened with their lives more than once. A close-up of meat extruding from a large grinder pulls back to show them hanging on hooks in a cooler. In another scene they are taken for a ride to a quarry only to cut a deal at the last minute. When they finally get the right dog, Cerberus, named for the hound that guards the gates of hell, he has to work his way up to the big race. When the dog loses Mo's friends sell him to some thugs, change their minds and steal him back only to be chased down bumpy roads in Mo's van by guns, a crossbow and an enormous chainsaw ending in a game of chicken they ultimately win, "Balls on them boys like Bengal tigers!" Man About Dog starts off with a bang but goes a bit thin toward the middle, it is unoriginal and very predictable but is none the less a great ride. In the Q and A after the film Breathnach had some funny antidotes about working with the dogs and also said he has no US distribution. His other films I Went Down and Blowdry are available and I plan on checking them out. Lets hope someone snatches this up so everyone has a chance to see it.
Mo Chara's father got him into betting on dogs and for better or worse
(mostly worse) it has become his passion. His friends Paulsy and Scud
Murphy go along with his judgement most of the time. When Mo lets
bookie JP McCallion win a race in return for a dog from his stable, the
boys get screwed and left with a fuzzy creature called Boots. They dump
Boots and agree to scupper another of McCallion's races in return for
another dog from a wealthy owner seeking revenge. They get the dog but
McCallion wants what he should have won from them fifty thousand
Euros. With their options limited, the boys take their dog, their
broken down van and head south into the Republic.
I watched this because it was made (partly) in Northern Ireland and I felt that I should support the small film industry there with my time if nothing else; other than that though I didn't know anything about it. The opening five minutes changed all that because the style, energy and tone of the film immediately told me that this was going to be one of many films that tries to utilise the style that Guy Ritchie made his name with in Lock Stock. Often I find this very off-putting and I haven't always got much from the films that jump on this new British gangster genre without a great deal to offer of its own. To a greater or lesser extent this film more or less falls into the same trap because the style and excess in the story is very much in the mould of Lock Stock.
It works best when the film uses it sparingly because the film does just about have enough of its own about it to make it worth watching. The typically Norn Iron dark humour is infused into the laddish gangster action pretty well and, as a Belfast boy myself, I could relate to aspects of the characters in there. However too often it does rely on Lock Stock tricks and style without really producing enough to hold up the style. It has a few "good" moments but mostly it is just amusing. The cast are pretty good but, like the script, they cannot totally make the film their own. Leech doesn't totally convince with his accent or his leading man ability but he does OK nonetheless. Nolan is more natural and recognisable as the type of person I would expect in his situation but he is not able to raise the material that much nor Murphy (sadly recently deceased). McGinley is the only one I'd describe as a real "face" within the film.
Looking at it coldly this is a rip-off of Lock Stock but set in Ireland but it does just about have enough local content to provide enough to justify watching it, but too often it gives in to aping the style of Lock Stock. Funnily enough the day I saw this film I also heard Mark Kermode comment on Shrooms (the next film from Breathnach) that it lacked its own style and was trying to sell to other markets. The same can be said of Man About Dog. As a result it is a so-so comedy but it cannot find its own voice due to the amount of time and energy spent on aping Guy Ritchie.
No doubt Paddy Breathnach watched some Guy Ritchie. The style and
storytelling is obviously the same. I don't mind this, since it's an
excellent and above all very entertaining style of film-making.
Obviously it's not as good as a Guy Ritchie movie of the same style but
it's surely entertaining enough.
It's not as good since the comedy in the movie feels more forced and planned out, rather than that it's cleverly and subtle written throughout the story. The events happen as comical moments rather than just moments that happen to the main characters. But of course you should perhaps not compare this too much to a Guy Ritchie and more regard it as a movie on its own. After all, it's Irish and therefor has a totally different atmosphere and lingo as well. In that regard this movie is just simply a well made and definitely entertaining one.
But was dog racing the best backdrop and choice for the main story? I don't think so. Some sports are not really sports in my opinion and therefor couldn't care any less about the movie its plot. I also couldn't care too much for the movie it's main characters. The actors portraying them are obviously not amongst the most talented, though they do a fair enough job playing average, regular 'normal' persons.
So it's definitely a movie with some pluses and minuses. The style and fun in this movie is definitely good and makes this an enjoyable watch. I only wished the movie had picked another main-plot, to also make the movie more compelling and interesting and perhaps even a bit more exciting to watch. After all, with these kinds of movies involving 'sports' featuring an underdog, you already exactly know in advance how it's going to end.
A pleasant watch but unfortunately no more than that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
About 8 minutes into the movie the 3 "hilarious" lead characters decide that a dog has to be killed. It will be smacked with a shovel. Funny stuff eh? You don't see the dog get killed but you hear the shovel hitting something with a clunk. The "hero" emerges from the woods with a "job well done" look. This is the kind of "comedy" that continues throughout the movie. Later a rare peregrine falcon is mistakenly shot from the sky by the same dog basher as before. Do you really think any audience would be laughing at this? Irish or other? We're not done yet. Now there's a scene were the "lead" dog falls out the back of a moving van because the "robustly funny" characters left the rear doors open. You see the dog hit the road and tumble about. Is this funny? Now we move to a scene where a horse trainer is selling drugs that will improve the dogs speed. Yeah there's a lot of genuine caring for the dogs going on here. At this point I'd had enough. I threw the DVD in the trash. Anyone who has the least amount of compassion for animals will find this movie very offensive. I would give it a minus 10 rating if this comment forum offered it.
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