noticed how those crunchy granola camper types are lousy in a crisis,
especially in the great outdoors? If you ever have an emergency in the forest
look for the city guy. Oh, but “The
Machine” is something else entirely. Outdoorsmen and urban sophisticates alike
will shrink before his chaotic power in John Butler’s The Bachelor Weekend (a.k.a. The
which screens during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
is sort of a Groomzilla. Finding him bizarrely interested in their wedding
details, Ruth the bride-to-be presumes on best man Davin to take him on a stag
camping getaway. Although Davin knows his chum is hardly the outdoorsy sort, he
complies anyway. After all, as everyone but Fionnan knows, he also once went
out with Ruth and never really recovered when she dumped him.
both men utterly dread her borderline psychotic brother, known simply as “The Machine.” They try to make it look
like they have invited the hard-charging U2 fanatic, while holding back key
info, like where and when. Nonetheless, The
Machine still manages to find his way to the party, arriving in a wickedly foul
mood. Let the celebration begin.
Weekend is not exactly a
staggeringly original concept, but it is considerably gentler and less raunchy
than The Hang-Over franchise and its
copycats. Even The Machine turns out
to be a reasonably grounded character. In fact, Butler and co-writer Peter
McDonald (who also co-stars as the prospective brother-in-law from Hell) pull a
bit of jujitsu, shifting viewer sympathies from the uptight Fionnan to the
madly roguish The Machine.
the biggest question Weekend answers
pertains to Andrew Scott’s viability as a comedic leading man. Best known as
Jim Moriarty in PBS’s Sherlock (and one
of the memorable voices calling in during Locke),
Scott fares rather well as Davin. He brings a sad dignity to the film that
holds up quite nicely over time. McDonald brings the heat as The Machine, but also throws an
effective curve ball or two in the late innings. In contrast, Hugh O’Conor is
annoyingly nondescript as Fionnan.
From time to time, Weekend offers some humorous commentary Irish cultural identity
amid the bromance. It is good-hearted and reasonably amusing, but not earthshakingly
memorable. A pleasant diversion, The
Bachelor Weekend screens this coming Tuesday (4/22), Wednesday (4/23),
Thursday (4/24), and Sunday (4/27) during this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Labels: Andrew Scott, Irish Cinema, Tribeca '14