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1 review, 7 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"Should be called Waking Ned Divine 2: Divine Intervention"
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 SEATTLE FILM FESTIVAL: When the director yelled 'that's a wrap' on Mystics, you can be sure that money was being wagered on how soon the reviews would mention it's startling similarities to Waking Ned Divine. I mean, Irish comedy, David Kelly as a lead, story about two lovable old rascals that get up to hijinks, you can basically fill in the gaps with any old junk story that takes your fancy and you're left with the same old formula. Which would all be really unfair if debut director David Blair had tried to create an original, thoughtful piece of work which just happened to be Irish and star David Kelly. But he hasn't. What he's created is a sitcom pilot, and in the end all that's missing is some Benny Hill Music, a couple of naughty nurses and someone saying the words "oo-er, vicar!"

Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh, but Mystics just doesn't earn any respect. Sure, it's sweet enough, and yes, you won't need to think bery often, and look - silly old men running around in mermuda shorts with their white, skinny legs! BWAHAHAA! That's comedy, baby!

Except it isn't. It's silly. The title is silly. The story is silly. The casting department has hung its hat on silly as a central theme to the film. And while silly can be great when its a silly you've never seen before, when its a silly you've seen over and over and over again... okay, I'm rambling.

Dave and Lucky (David Kelly and Milo O'Shea) are a couple of ex-showbiz lads who have taken to spending their declining years pretending that they're mediums to the spirit world. Hapless housewives give them money and the two do a little research, set up a fake seance and one of them does an impression of the dead man as he speaks through a loudspeaker in the ceiling. This is where the movie begins to lose the audience, because the scam is so obvious that from here on in we're rolling eyes, and that's a problem as the movie is only a few minutes old when this scene is set.

But the eye rolling reaches fever pitch when a local gangster dies and his mob decide that Dave and Lucky should contact the dead guy so he can tell them where the diamonds are stashed. Wackiness ensues when the dead man himself appears and starts barking orders for another job, much to the surprise of our scamming scamps.

Cue plenty of double-crosses, a little romance (only a very little amount, and only some of that is done well), the requisite twist at the end and not nearly as much of the Irish countryside as other weak Irish comedies have exploited to get over on an American audience. Thankfully, unlike in American Irish movies, nobody breaks out into a jig whenever they drink a beer, but that's a very small 'thankfully' in a film loaded with easy options, low level goals and seemingly designed from the outset only to be a vehicle for old Irish men to be old Irish men in front of a paying audience.

Waking Ned Divine tried this scheme and delivered the goods to the Big Fat Greek Wedding crowd. Mystics is an effort to recapture that buzz without trying anything new. It's weak, but you know what...?

It'll probably make money.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/14/03 06:25:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/14/06 glenda pleasant but not absorbing 4 stars
9/20/06 Lisa Temple-Ashmore Wesley Burrowes is a genius! 4 stars
12/03/04 mark o sullivan well i like it !!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
2/03/04 simon fellows chris you have taken yourself and the film too seriously-this was a yarn -i laughed 4 stars
12/16/03 Margaret Doherty Lighten Up ! it's light entertainment and good at that 4 stars
12/16/03 Roy Chapman Actually, I thought it was pretty funny 4 stars
10/22/03 Phineas Glynn fantastic - couldn't disagree more with Christine Parry 4 stars
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  11-Jun-2003 (NR)



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