The Matchmaker

on October 03, 1997 by Christine James
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   Bostonian sass meets romantic blarney in this comedy of Aerrors. Trying to locate the Aer Aran airplane to Ireland gets brash political aide Marcy ("The Truth About Cats and Dogs'" Janeane Garofalo) off on the wrong foot with the Emerald Isle as she marble-mouthedly stumbles over the Gaelic pronunciation. The reason for Marcy's trip is that she's been assigned to track down the relatives of her boss, Senator John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders). The Senator is down in the polls, and his unscrupulous advisor ("Wide Awake's" Denis Leary) concocts a plan to gain Kennedy-like popularity by uncovering a family heritage steeped in tradition and turning it into a photo opportunity. It's quite a stretch, especially since the exact motivations, as simple as they are, should have been spelled out within the first two minutes of the movie; instead, for some reason, Marcy's already across the ocean and crossly scowling at the locals before we're sketchily told why.
   After getting that nasty explication out of the way, we find Marcy's attempts to bark up the O'Glory family tree hindered by the town's annual Matchmaking Festival, which has everyone preoccupied with love connections. Ever the cynical, smart-mouthed loner, Marcy is exasperated to receive marriage proposals instead of genealogical information. To further complicate matters, her hotel room is right next door to the obnoxious Sean (David O'Hara). Of course, anyone who's ever seen a movie is aware that that's not a thorn in Marcy's side, but rather Cupid's arrow.
   The local matchmaker (Milo O'Shea), renowned for his astounding success rate, is determined to get the two equally stubborn and sarcastic characters together, which never really looks like that difficult a task. There's an unfortunate feeling of contrivance in the script that is somewhat mirth-draining, which is a pity because this was the role Garofalo was born to play: strong, smart, caustic, funny and vulnerable. And she does a great job with perfect comic timing and her sardonic brand of charm, but no one is buying the scenario or the chemistry. A lack of creativity and a tendency toward caricature on the part of the scripters leaves boxoffice prospects in anything but clover.    Starring Janeane Garofalo, Milo O'Shea, David O'Hara, Denis Leary and Jay O. Sanders. Directed by Mark Joffe. Written by Karen Janszen, Louis Nowra and Graham Linehan. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Luc Roeg. A Gramercy release. Rated R for language. Running time: 97 min.
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