The title might suggest a comedy about a new line of condoms, but there's no contraception yet invented that keeps moviegoers safe from films like this. "Trojan Eddie" is a tale of blarney about an Irish dupe, Eddie ("Michael Collins'" Stephen Rea), who has the gift of gab for selling household items in makeshift auctions; but, ironically, he doesn't have a pitch worthy enough to prevent his wife from bed-hopping or to convince his girlfriend that he loves her. He's also the stooge for the local "Godfather," John Power (Richard Harris), who has everything that Eddie can only dream of owning. When Eddie's assistant runs off with Power's treasured young bride, along with their dowry money, Eddie is caught between a rock and a hard place as to where to place his loyalties.
For "Trojan Eddie" to work well, Eddie's inventiveness as a carny auctioneer should be the motor of the movie, but with the moping Rea in the role the story grinds to a halt. Rea doesn't have the high spirit of a huckster; he's heavy-spirited and thus ineffectual, and that puts the movie in a blue funk. Harris doesn't summon much life, either; audiences are supposed to believe that the young woman he wishes to wed reminds him of his late wife, yet nothing on his face registers the euphoric bliss of a man recreating his desire for a lost love--his bliss is more like a drunken haze.
Gillies Mackinnon ("Small Faces") directs the film in such a nonchalant and perfunctory manner that one can't even register why when Eddie lets his ex-wife back to live with the children. (She doesn't even say bother to say hello to them.) "Trojan Eddie" not only doesn't do magic, it barely knows how to do reality. Starring Stephen Rea, Richard Harris and Sean McGinley. Directed by Gillies Mackinnon. Written by Billy Roche. Produced by Emma Burge, Rod Stoneman, Alan J. Wands, Kevin Menton and Nigel Warren-Green. A Castle Hill release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 105 min. Screened at the 1996 Toronto fest