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An occasional series highlighting films I think more people should know about.

Title: Irish Jam

Writers: John Eyres, Max Myers

Director: John Eyres

Stars: Eddie Griffin, Anna Friel, Mo’Nique 

Synopsis: An all talk, no walk black guy (Griffin) from the U.S. wins a contest that grants him ownership of a bar in Ireland.  Culture clash then ensues, along with an evil landowner vs. the townspeople plot apparently cribbed from a Scooby-Doo episode.

Why You Should Know About This Movie: Perhaps I didn’t describe the plot clearly enough.  Eddie Griffin wins a poetry contest that gives him the deed to a bar in Ireland.  Also, it co-stars Anna Friel and Oscar-winner Mo’Nique (more on them later).

Why You Should See This Movie: You know how sometimes you are watching a movie and you get frustrated when there’s a character or scene or whatever designed to give a whole lot of exposition?  And then maybe you think to yourself, “Self, I’m a smart person.  I don’t need this long-winded speech or awkward dialogue to understand what’s going on.”  Well, here’s your chance to test that theory out!  At best you get some explanation four or fives scenes too late, but most of the time you get to make up your own backstory for such things as how the town decided a poetry contest was the best way to raise money, or what the heck Mo’Nique’s character is doing in the movie.  Although, to be fair, it probably wouldn’t matter if they had put any exposition in, because between Eddie Griffin’s manic slang-filled incomprehensible near-monologues and everyone else’s Irish brogue, it isn’t like I really understood anything anyone was saying anyway.

Another good reason is that this film is, ostensibly, about African-American and Irish cultures.  Which is an impressive feat for writers Eyres and Myers to pull off, considering they apparently had never actually seen an African-American or Irish person.

Or maybe the actors.  It confuses me that there was a time when Eddie Griffin was a viable leading man, because all his tics may be charming as a wacky sidekick, but man do they get tiresome over the course of a film.  You gotta respect Anna Friel, acting like there was any chance anyone would ever see this movie.  Friel, by the way, is awesome in everything, even if she has terrible luck picking projects.   And there’s Mo’Nique, of course, playing an ugly ugly character that some probably would consider racistly-written.  I’d probably go with ignorantly-written, but at least she’s only in the film for a handful scenes (popping up seemingly randomly).

Also Appearing: Kevin McNally is the bad guy.  He’s been in the Pirates of the Caribbean films as Joshamee Gibbs, which might mean something to me if all of those films didn’t put me to sleep.  Otherwise, I’m not coming up with too much.  Tom Georgeson is a respected stage actor who’s been in a bunch of films.  And rapper Petey Pablo has a cameo buying pot from Eddie Griffin.

Fun Facts: I don’t really have much for you here, sorry.  Seems like the general consensus on this direct-to-DVD release is that some rich people needed a vehicle for tax breaks.  Even though imdb won’t confirm it, because they don’t show a soundtrack listing for the film, I’m positive I saw Anna Friel’s name in the credits as actually singing the songs that her character sings in the film.  I was going to say “inexplicably sings in the film”, but then I remembered that, duh, all Irish lasses sing mournful folk songs at bars without needing a reason to do so.  Let’s go ahead an embed a clip of that, which includes a mercifully dubbed Eddie Griffin:

 

Quotes: “That’s great.  I don’t understand a word of it, but that’s great.”

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