"Pure Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey. How can you go wrong?"
Took me three tries to rent this video. Not that I wanted it so much. That was the point. I kept putting it back. But eventually the threat of two hours of crap was put to the back of my mind and I forked out my buck.
And ain't I glad I did.This film introduced me, nay, introduced everyone, to the reason why Denis Leary is well regarded. Nobody plays "pissed off" quite as well (well, maybe James Woods after 24 hours without caffeine, but I digress).
Then there's Kevin Spacey. At the time of release, the Space wasn't exactly a household name. In fact, I'd be surprised if his own household knew his name. But he shows enough of what we've come to adore in The Ref to have the casting agents beating a path to his door. And a few years later, voila, the man is pure A-list.
Judy Davis has to be one of the most underrated actresses in the biz. She's always excelled at dramatic roles, but she's hysterical here in the first comedic role I can recall her in.
So Leary is a burglar who's been almost caught by a sophisticated alarm system. On the run, and with the police zeroing in, he takes refuge in the house of a local family, only to discover that this family, especially at Christmas, is the family that could steamroll Iraq into submission. Spacey and Davis are borderline anger-inducing as the perpetually arguing about-to-be-divorced couple. The jokes make you laugh through gritted teeth, because while there's a lot of funny stuff going on, these people are just too good at making you hate them.
The saviour of all is Leary. He's not having a good day, and even when things go well, they get worse real fast.This is a film that could have come across WAY wrong, or made the audience hate everyone, but the direction is handled superbly and even the most annoying family member has enough heart to stop you losing patience with the story. A definite see-someday movie.