Reviewed by: Shawn Handran
Starring: Janeane Garofalo, David O'Hara, Denis Leary, Jay O. Sanders, Milo O'Shea / Director: Mark Joffe / Released by: Gramercy
“The Matchmaker” is touted as a romatic comedy about campaign manager Janeane Garofalo who is sent to Ireland to find the geneological roots of a fictitious U.S. Senator, John McGlory (Jay O. Sanders), in hopes of boosting his faultering presidental campaign. Garofalo arrives in Ireland in the middle of a matchmaking festival, and the movie unfolds in a series of humorous (and also many not-so-homourous) situations.
The “R” rating is merited by the frequent use of profanity, several instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and implied sexual situations and overtures. Unfortunately, this was all gratuitous, not adding to the movie in the slightest, and is the reason why I gave “The Matchmaker” a Moral Rating of 2 (offensive). In fact, I was really disappointed with the performance of Denis Leary, whom I normally find somewhat entertaining (apart from his profanity). In “The Matchmaker,” he was pathetically unhumorous, and almost single-handedly contributed to the R rating of this movie. These issues aside, the movie has no overt anti-Christian motives (but see comment below on divorce), which is rare these days.
The strength of the movie (in secular terms) was its' humor, and I found much of it entertaining. There was also some breathtaking scenery of the Irish countryside and coast that greatly added to the enjoyment of “The Matchmaker”. The biggest criticism I have of this movie (aside from the frequent profanity), was that it was not romantic at all! There was no chemistry between the two primary characters, the interaction between them was forced. To worsen matters, the man was in the midst of a separation/divorce (divorce was briefly glorified in this movie). There were several loose-ends that were not concluded, leaving me to wonder why there were included to begin with. The movie ended on a generally unsatifactory and unfulfilling note, as would be expected in a movie that does not give glory to God.
If you want to see a “feel-good” romantic comedy (as advertised), you will be disappointed with “The Matchmaker”.