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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday, November 23, 2014 - Edition No 924 

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OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE

SYNOPSIS:
Tim "Dunf" Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) lives in a working class neighbourhood of Pawtucket, Rhode Island with his brother Jackie (Tommy Bone) and his Old Man (Alec Baldwin). He spends most of his time hanging out with his friends, including Drugs Delaney (Jon Abrahams), whose nickname is well justified. When an evening of driving and pot turns results in a car accident, his father calls in a favour from his friend Caveech (Mike Cerrone) and packs Tim off to a prep school, Cornwall Academy. There he finds it difficult to fit into the regimented life, run by Mr. Funderburk (Tim Crowe) - but also finds himself attracted to Jane Weston (Amy Smart) the most beautiful girl at the nearby girls’ school.

"The publicity for this film will tell you it’s co-written by the Farrelly brothers - of There’s Something About Mary fame. While Outside Providence certainly has its moments, this is most definitely not a bad taste romp like ...Mary. The story of a boy’s coming-of-age in an alien environment, where class divisions are very much in evidence is, for the most part, fairly subtle and quite offbeat. In fact, under Michael Corrente’s direction, it has a lot more in common with the admittedly superior Rushmore than with the Farrelly’s own films. Outside Providence covers a lot of territory - class, love, drug use, study, ambition, family relations and, yes, comedy, all combined in a frothy concoction that also displays surprising sensitivity at times. The film’s big weakness, however, is the script’s inability to sustain the pitch of the first hour throughout. In the latter section, the film drags somewhat; and in the end doesn’t go anywhere terribly interesting. That said, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Shawn Hatosy is clearly maturing as an actor and this is a worthy addition to his resume. Alec Baldwin looks a little uncomfortable as Old Man Dunphy, but still delivers. Amy Smart plays Jane with the required sweetness, but never gets to stretch. Look out for some familiar faces, including George Wendt (who’s great), in cameos as Baldwin’s poker buddies. Outside Providence may not change the world, but for my money, this light and refreshing slice-of-life movie is most definately worth a look."
David Edwards

"Outside Providence was co-written by the Farrelly brothers, who made There's Something About Mary, and the humor here has a similar down-to-earth bluntness. Overall, though, it's a more modest, naturalistic project, perhaps because of its period setting. A kind of nostalgia is generated by the drab, unvarnished visual style, while the whole Cornwall Academy subplot, where the pot-head students pull pranks on uptight Mr Funderberk, seems like a throwback to a type of comedy I thought was gone for good (at least since the 'Homer Goes To College' episode of The Simpsons). Nostalgia doesn't initially seem the right word for the film's portrayal of the sheer awfulness of growing up in a shithole like Rhode Island, where's there's nothing to do but get drunk or stoned ('How about we go hang out in the parking lot?' someone suggests), and the hero seems doomed to grow up like his obnoxious bigoted dad, who calls his son Dildo and rants on about Nixon. But gradually the mood turns affectionate, even proud. What the filmmakers are always trying to do, in their blokey, dopey way, is open up a little more space for tolerance and decency. The movie says that there's nothing wrong or abnormal in being an ordinary working-class kid, smoking a lot of pot, sometimes feeling like a loser. At the same time, thanks to his fun-loving but brainy girlfriend, Tim comes to realise that education is worth having – while Old Man Dunphy and his poker buddies are forced to overcome their ritual contempt for 'faggots.' Indeed, a whole range of people (rich, poor, male, female, gay, straight) turn out, finally, to be not too different from each other. Nothing radical about this message, but that's part of the point."
Jake Wilson



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE (MA)
(US)

CAST: Alec Baldwin, Shawn Hatosy, Amy Smart, Jon Abrahams, George Wendt

DIRECTOR: Michael Corrente

PRODUCER: Michael Corrente, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Randy Finch

SCRIPT: Peter Farrelly from his novel

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Crudo

EDITOR: Kate Sanford

MUSIC: Sheldon Mirowitz (additional songs Pete Townshend)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chad Detweiller

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutees

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: October 28, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: April 4, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent







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