Wah-wah

on May 12, 2006 by Kevin Courrier
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As an actor, Richard E. Grant ("Withnail & I," "Keep the Aspidistra Flying") can be so flamboyantly funny that he dares the audience to take flight with him. As a director in the semi-autobiographical "Wah-Wah," though, he encourages the actors to be so flamboyantly bad that the picture plunges into the earth.

Taking a chapter from his early life growing up in Swaziland, Grant tells the story of how young Ralph Compton (Zachary Fox and, later, Nicholas Hoult) attempts to grow up with a heavy-drinking father (Gabriel Byrne) and an ill-humored mother (Miranda Richardson) who walks out on them. When his dad marries a non-conformist American (Emily Watson), who is an outrageous cut-up, Ralph eventually comes to embrace his theatrical side. The whole movie, though, is theatrical in the worst possible way. People are so busy shouting out abuse, or delivering it, that you wonder if the entire cast is somehow hard of hearing. In "Wah-Wah," everyone acts up such a storm that they end up signifying nothing. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Nicholas Hoult, Emily Watson and Julie Walters. Directed and written by Richard E. Grant. Produced by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, Pierre Kubel and Jeff Abberley. A Goldwyn release. Drama. Rated R for some language and brief sexuality. Running time: 97 min

Tags: Starring Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Nicholas Hoult, Emily Watson, Julie Walters, Directed, written by Richard E. Grant. Produced by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, Pierre Kubel, Jeff Abberley, Goldwyn, Drama
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