When Brendan Met Trudy

A brashly self-referential romantic comedy and the first original screenplay by Roddy Doyle (whose novels were made into THE VAN, THE SNAPPER and THE COMMITMENTS), this strenuously quirky film flaunts its own cleverness at every turn. But beneath its pretention to undermine romantic comedy conventions, it's a by-the-book (or rather, by-the-movie) entertainment...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A brashly self-referential romantic comedy and the first original screenplay by Roddy Doyle (whose novels were made into THE VAN, THE SNAPPER and THE COMMITMENTS), this strenuously quirky film flaunts its own cleverness at every turn. But beneath its pretention to undermine romantic comedy conventions, it's a by-the-book (or rather, by-the-movie) entertainment about opposites attracting. Shy Irish schoolteacher Brendan (Peter McDonald) has a batch of cold, relentlessly critical relatives and a job at a private boy's school he dislikes so much he can't be bothered to learn the name of a single pupil. His only loves are cinema and choir singing. And then he meets Trudy (Flora Montgomery), who claims to be a Montessori teacher and manages to be simultaneously brazen and a bit mysterious. She presses her chimerical attentions on Brendan, badgers him into inviting her out, stands him up and is utterly unrepentant about it. Despite this rocky start, they wind up dating and Trudy devotes her ferocious energies to awakening her uptight lover's inner rebel. Brendan eventually emerges from his newfound erotic haze long enough to wonder what Trudy's doing when she sneaks out at night — dressed all in black — and briefly convinces himself she's part of a guerilla feminist cabal terrorizing Dublin. Fortunately, she's just a thief, but even that's a harsh blow to Brendan's bourgeois sense of propriety. Brendan and Trudy bicker, make up, sulk, make love and break up again — their romantic travails often couched in terms of classic film scenes plucked from Brendan's movie-made imagination. Leads Montgomery and McDonald succeed admirably in making their characters polar opposites, but frankly, they're both rather annoying. Brendan is a world-class wet blanket, and Trudy is one high-maintenance ball of fire. If you're charmed from the outset, this is an enjoyable trifle; if you're not, it never gets any less mannered and convinced of its own wit.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A brashly self-referential romantic comedy and the first original screenplay by Roddy Doyle (whose novels were made into THE VAN, THE SNAPPER and THE COMMITMENTS), this strenuously quirky film flaunts its own cleverness at every turn. But beneath its prete… (more)

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