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The Last Of The High Kings Review

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Living with parents he can't stand and determined that the world will come to an end with the arrival of his exam results, Frankie (Leto) arranges a party so that he can seduce the best looking girl in the school.

★★★★★

If the title suggests another worthy period drama, then the sight of a naked teen heart-throb (Leto) scrabbling around some schoolgirl's front lawn in search of his Y-fronts should soon assuage any doubts. For this is far less a tale of battling feudal clans than a gentle coming-of-age comedy, a lesson in how to survive the summer before A-level results unscathed.

It's 1977 Dublin, and the only member of his family that Frankie Griffin (Leto) can tolerate is Noely, his brain-damaged little brother. Said state of family affairs is due largely to Frankie having two over-emotional parents: Gabriel Byrne is a part-time father and full-time actor; and his mother (O'Hara) the real head of the household, a mad drama queen. Convinced his world is going to end with his exam results, Frankie tries to arrange a party where he can seduce one of his school's most gorgeous girls.

Unfortunately, the fact that Frankie would in real life have to beat off girls with a stick escapes everyone but Ricci, who, in a brief but amusing appearance as an American cousin, goes straight for the guy's zipper.

The cameos from her, Colm Meany as a lascivious MP and Stephen Rea as a loquacious cabby are so good they are in danger of overshadowing the rest of the film. Which means that although Leto's mercifully accurate Dublin brogue and good looks should please fans of his cult American TV show My So-Called Life, the film around him is somewhat lightweight.

Although Leto's mercifully accurate Dublin brogue and good looks should please fans of his cult American TV show My So-Called Life, the film around him is somewhat lightweight.