Holy Water (R15)

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The ViewDunedin Review

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Review byMatthew Turner4/02/2010

One out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Dismal Irish comedy that fails to exploit the comic potential of its premise and is let down by poor direction, dull central characters and a shocking lack of laughs.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tom Reeve, Holy Water is set in the once thriving Irish village of Kilcoulins Leap, which has fallen on hard times. In need of cash, Gaffer (John Lynch), Sean (Cian Barry), Podger (Cornelius Clark) and Donal (Lochlann O'Mearain) hijack a truckload of Viagra intending to sell it in Amsterdam but the arrival of a no-nonsense American security team (Linda Hamilton, Lisa Catara and Tommy 'Tiny' Lister) panics them and they dump the Viagra in a local well.

With the village's water supply contaminated by Viagra, it isn't long before the effects are felt throughout Kilcoulins Leap with “hilarious” results.

The Bad
Updating classic Ealing comedy Whisky Galore! with Viagra instead of whisky isn't a bad idea per se but the filmmakers wrongly assume that the premise itself is enough to guarantee laughs and fail to do anything interesting with it. This is all too apparent in the criminally slow pacing – the film is already half over before the Viagra even gets dumped in the well in the first place.

There are belated nods to the sex comedy element of the film but they come too late in the film to make any comic impact and they don't amount to anything other than a few random couplings. Worse, the most interesting sub-plot (that one of the characters might be gay) is briefly raised and then dropped like the proverbial hot potato and instantly forgotten about.

The Worse
The performances don't help. Lynch, Barry and O'Mearain seem like they're on sleeping pills rather than Viagra, while Clark's squeaky-voiced turn as Podger (he's oddly reminiscent of Lou Costello) is more irritating than charming. Similarly, a scarily rough-looking Linda Hamilton is completely wasted as the security boss (she's the one character it would actually be funny to see affected by Viagra but the filmmakers don't bother going there) and the supporting cast are largely interchangeable. The idea of the priest being driven mad by everyone's sex-crazed confessions has potential, but again, is largely ignored by the script.

Worth seeing?
Holy Water is a flaccid, poorly paced and badly written comedy that struggles to raise so much as a chuckle, let alone anything else. One to avoid.

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