Cinema Libre // 2007 // 83 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ike Oden (Retired) // March 21st, 2011
Love is a battlefield.
Lt. Mike Clarke (Andrew Keegan, 10 Things I Hate About You) makes a bet with the nephew of Al Capone that he can take down five enemy planes before the end of World War II. Smash cut to the final days of the Third Reich, when Clarke, co-pilot Twickers (Hugh O'Conor, My Left Foot), and German pilot Dinky (Jenne Declair, Brush With Fate) crash land in neutral Irish territory. In a rural village, Clark conspires with his enemy to take down the German's plane and establish his Ace pilot wings, lest he return home be indebted to mobsters. The entire village gets behind his goal, including the feisty Maggie (Jade Yourell, Happy Ever Afters). Hair-brained schemes and whiskey-tinged romance ensue, all while a man-hunting S.S. Officer (Guido De Craine) heads toward the area to take care of some unfinished business.
Contrary to what the blurbs on its packaging would have you believe, Waiting For Dublin isn't just a sweet-natured, old-fashioned comedy. It is a stupid, groan-inducing film that rests on the laurels of old Hollywood nostalgia while subjecting the audience to awkward acting, cliché characters, bad dialogue and a thoroughly unfunny script.
The film has fine cinematography, especially during aerial scenes, and co-star Jade Yourell is a damn fine lass with some damn fine acting chops, but everything else about the movie is flat and lifeless. Yourell succeeds in making us believe a war hero would trade all his chips in for a spunky Irish girl like herself. Her scenes brighten what is an otherwise dreary, auto-piloted film.
Andrew Keegan, most well known for playing jock-jerks in teen movies, is absolutely lifeless as the film's maverick hero. Mike is the kind of role made for a Jimmy Stewart or -- as suggested in a blurb by Roger Ebert -- Bing Crosby type. Those actors had a sense of presence and charisma onscreen. Keegan plays the character like he's in a Friday the 13th sequel, bringing an unlikeable sense of bullying and vapid cluelessness to a character who is supposed to be square, albeit crafty.
The supporting cast doesn't fare any better. Hugh O'Conor sits out the majority of his screen time as the co-pilot, though his chemistry with Keegan and lack of comic timing probably make this a good thing. Jenne Declair and Guido De Craine are equally awkward as the German officers who become friends with the American pilots.
I can let Declair's character change go because of a later story twist I'd rather not ruin, but De Craine's character is a straight-up SS Officer, black trench coat and all. Though re-runs of Hogan's Heroes try to convince me otherwise, the Nazis still carry the torch as Hollywood's favorite onscreen enemy. I'm not comfortable at all with the film's portrayal of upper-echelon Nazis as quirky a-holes. The whole thing just feels super insensitive, especially for a movie that's trying to be fun for everyone.
The Irish setting and characters are mostly set decoration, drawn out of the John Ford playbook of clichés but without any of the soul or nuance. The actors seem to know this, too, and phone their performances in accordingly.
The rest of the film has the same attitude. The direction lacks imagination, the music is canned, the editing sloppy -- even the make-up work on the film feels slapped together. If you're really hard up for an Irish movie, watch The Quiet Man again. Or Waking Ned Devine. Or Leprechaun (Judge Tom Becker isn't the only one who can reference this). Anything but the dullness of Waiting For Dublin.
The Blu-ray is equally dull. The transfer lacks any sort of polish, looking dark and muddy, barely a step up from standard DVD. The stereo track is clear enough. There are no extras, not even a menu, just some scene selections. Why Cinema Libre decided to put this on Blu, other than to drive up the asking price, is beyond me.
Wait for this release to fade into bargain bins.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Cinema Libre
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated