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IN SHORT: A cute Date Flick.
The Matchmaker is one of those films that Cranky walks out of thinking, "one more pass by the screenwriters and it could have been really, really good." As it stands, The Matchmaker is a very amusing coulda been; it's a great pitch for a vacation in Ireland and it's two for two for amusing comedies with Janeane Garafalo's name at the top.
We begin with Marcy Tizard (Janeane Garofalo) who has something to do with a reelection campaign for Senator John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders) of Massachusetts. What exactly that job is Cranky couldn't tell you. Garafalo spends the first couple of scenes burying her head in a file folder and ducking the candidate's second rate Denis Leary type second in command. She's high enough up the ladder that the candidate speaks to her directly, so we know she's important. We don't know why.
Anyway, the Senator's campaign is in the toilet. The way out is to emphasize his Irish roots -- he's Boston based and it's a Kennedy kind of thing -- so Garafalo is sent winging to the motherland to find something, anything to make the connection. She arrives in the town of Ballinagra in the middle of its annual matchmaking festival, where single men and women converge and two local matchmakers do their best to make that permanent connection. Or at least get 'em a good suntan.
This is where things get wild. Garafalo has built a career on an image of being unattractive and nasty tempered. But the most extraordinary thing happens when she touches down in Ireland.
She doesn't just smile, she glows. Yes indeed she does and it's very attractive and just makes the barbs whipping out of her mouth all the more funny. But rather than exploiting the festival and having the matchmakers sic endless numbers of helpless geeks upon our fair lady, she's quickly paired up with one and that is pretty much that for lots of possible gags.
Unexpectedly to everyone but the audience, the Senator shows his face in Eire in a last minute desperate search for the family that Marcy can't find. Tagging along is a pudgy Denis Leary wannabe type (played, strangely enough, by Denis Leary -- which only goes to show how the edge of this comedy's comedy has not properly been honed) and the flick putters merrily along until the credits roll.
There are plenty of laughs to be found in The Matchmaker which is probably enough, now that we're coming into the season of ultra serious Oscar wannabe flicks. Milo O'Shea delivers a touching performance as one of the matchmakers. In short, it's definitely a good date flick.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Matchmaker, he would have paid . . .
Even if your love life is as pathetic as Cranky's you'll still probably walk out smiling. He did.
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