Friday, January 4, 2008

Black Irish DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Coming-of-Age Beantown Drama Arriveson DVD

16 year-old Cole McKay (MichaelAngarano) is a kid with a lot of promise. Not only is he an academic standoutat his Catholic prep school in Boston,but he’s also planning for the priesthood. Plus, he’s a star pitcher on thebaseball team headed for the state championships.

But allof the above is about to be derailed due to the deteriorating state of the dysfunctional family he was born into. For hisfolks are Black Irish, the designation commonly applied to those of his lineagewith lower-class roots and generally associated with drinking, fighting andunderachieving.

Cole’s siblings could easily serve as the poster children for white trash, given thathis teenage sister, Kathleen (Emily VanCamp) is knocked-up and clueless, whilehis big brother, Terry (Tom Guiry) is a ne’er-do-well with a drug habit and arap sheet yay-long.

And Cole’s parents aren’t any better. His sickly father, Desmond(Brendan Gleeson), is an emotionally-unavailable alcoholic stuck in a lovelessmarriage to his disciplinarian mother (Melissa Leo) pressuring Kathleen todisappear to a convent before she shows so as not to bring any further dishonorupon the McKay name.

Sadistic Terry is the type of sibling who beats up his littlebrother in public for borrowing a pair of pants without asking. In fact, he’snot above making Cole taking them off on the spot. Talk about embarrassing thefamily!

Such cringe-inducing antics are par for the course during Black Irish,a drismal drama rather reminiscent of Angela’s Ashes, especially in terms ofmaintaining a relentlessly pessimistic and morose tone. The big difference isthat this story stays put compared to that grand saga which ventured across theocean to the Emerald Isle. And, more importantly, this relatively-optimistic coming-of-agetale does ultimately offer a glimmer of hope.

Good (2 stars)
Rated R for profanity and brief violence.
Running time: 95 minutes
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
DVDExtras: “Behind the Scenes” featurette.

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