A misfire developed at the Sundance Institute: First-time writer/director Theresa Connelly should have kept working until she figured out how to establish some convincing sense of time, place and ethnicity. Apparently set during the early '60s (a guess
based more on attitudes than anything else) in Detroit (it says so onscreen), this discombobulated comedy-drama about the foibles of the close-knit, working-class Pzoniak clan fairly oozes inauthenticity. Hard-working immigrants Bolek (Gabriel Byrne), a baker, and Jadzia (Lena Olin), a cleaning woman, have five children at home: four grown sons and dangerously beautiful teenage daughter Hala (Clare Danes), a high-school drop-out who sneaks around with boys, smokes in the basement and is always running because she's an unfettered spirit. Eldest son Ziggy (Daniel Lapine) has also brought
home his wife Sofie (Mili Avital) -- "That gypsy!" snarls Jadzia -- and their newborn. Jadzia is having an affair with businessman Roman (Rade Serbedzija), because she feels Bolek lost interest in her after child-bearing ruined her figure; that anyone can see she's built like a Victoria's Secret model goes unremarked. Sensitive Bolek suspects Jadzia's infidelity, but doesn't want to rock the boat or something... it's not entirely clear. Meanwhile, Hala gets herself in the family way courtesy of local cop Russell (Adam Trese), which is awkward in light of the fact that she's been chosen to
represent the Blessed Virgin in a church procession. Leaving aside the unfortunate matter of the seriously unconvincing accents affected by Byrne and Olin, the most unfortunate thing about this mishmash of good intentions is how badly it serves its talented cast: Even the radiantly intelligent Danes has little to do but sulk and flounce. The title, by the way, is synonymous with "shotgun nuptials:" it's Pzoniak tradition that the movie treats with cheerful nonchalance.
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: A misfire developed at the Sundance Institute: First-time writer/director Theresa Connelly should have kept working until she figured out how to establish some convincing sense of time, place and ethnicity. Apparently set during the early '60s (a guess ba… (more)