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The Closer You Get Review

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After glimpsing Bo Derek's tantilising form in Blake Edwards' 10, the men-folk of Kilvara make a bit to attract more exotic beauties to their humble abodes. However, the women-folk retaliate by inviting Spanish fishermen to the dance. A desultory battle of the sexes ensues.

★★★★★

Aileen Ritchie's feature debut attempts to leap aboard the Irish whimsy bandwagon but misses its step and lands awkwardly in the trail of ordure behind.

After an illicit glimpse of Bo Derek bouncing along the sand in Blake Edwards' 10, the male inhabitants of Kilvara, a desolate hamlet on the Donegal coast, begin to feel their Guinness-dulled oats. Spurred on by "bollix"-scratching slob Kieron (Hart), they place an ad in the Miami Herald in the forlorn hope of luring some exotic women to the local dance. This does not go down at all well with the womenfolk, who retaliate by inviting a group of Spanish fishermen to the shindig. Jealousies erupt, a desultory battle of the sexes ensues and yet another meagre knob of blarney is spread gossamer-thin across our screens.

That Ivory's cliché-laden screenplay exhibits less meat than a butcher's pencil and more holes than a fisherman's sweater is just the start of it. The film is ineptly handled, only adequately acted and, in its depiction of the rural Irish as mullet-sporting hicks whose hilarious lack of sophistication is allied to boozy philosophising and twinkly native "charm", grossly patronising.

If you thought Waking Ned - which at least boasted narrative sense and solid laughs - was like being beaten over the head with a giant shamrock, you'll find this a less pleasant experience. Imagine a quilt-topped Derry boot stamping on a human face forever. An extra star for the scenery, for which everyone involved can thank God. Literally.

The film is ineptly handled, only adequately acted and, in its depiction of the rural Irish as mullet-sporting hicks whose hilarious lack of sophistication is allied to boozy philosophising and twinkly native "charm", grossly patronising.