5 January 2011 | mjneu59
comic misfire has its moments
It may be a far cry from classic screwball comedy, but even during its many forgettable moments this fish-out-of-water farce isn't a total write-off. Certainly there's nothing in it to justify the cold-blooded lack of confidence that killed it at the Box Office: the throwaway release it received is usually reserved for lame dogs someone wants put out of misery, and in this case it worked.
At least the film never pretends to be anything more than what it is: a self-consciously wacky social comedy with an outsider's exaggerated, broad-as-a-barn-door view of American manners, starring Daniel Day Lewis as a dapper English art appraiser who runs into an oddball collection of cartoon Confederate rebels while investigating a lost Renoir in backwoods Georgia. All the film needs is a laugh-track to become a respectable TV sitcom (a degenerate Beverly Hillbillies?), but director Pat O'Connor doesn't show much aptitude for low comedy, and the laughs collapse into a feeble slapstick conclusion, leaving the door wide open for a sequel which will never be made.