Movie: "Keeping Mum"
Directed by: Niall Johnson
Writing credits: Niall Johnson, Richard Russo
Plot: Think Mary Poppins, only Mary Poppins is a serial killer.
Review: All is not well in the village of Little Wallop (population 57). The Goodfellows are going through a family crisis. Dad (Rowan Atkinson), a minister, is so preoccupied with an upcoming convention that he's completely oblivious to everything around him. Mom (Kristin Scott Thomas) is feeling sexually neglected and is considering running off to Mexico with her sleazy golf instructor (Patrick Swayze). Daughter Holly (Tamsin Egerton) is becoming a bit of a slut, son Petey (Toby Parkes) is being bullied mercilessly at school, and the neighbor's dog won't fucking shut up. To top it all off, there's algae in the pond and it might have to be drained.
Fortunately, a new housekeeper has arrived and it looks as if she'll use a bit of brisk and stereotypical British efficiency to set things straight. Grace (Maggie Smith, best known for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and, yes, the Harry Potter series as Prof. McGonagall) is the epitome of grandmotherly sweetness and general harmlessness. Soon, though, a disturbing pattern begins to emerge. As Grace and her mysterious steamer trunk settle in, the family begins to notice that their problems are literally disappearing. The dog that yaps all night vanishes, along with his owner; the school bullies find their brakelines have been cut as they chase Petey down a steep hill. And then there's the matter of that irritating golf instructor, who has taken to boffing the mother and then videotaping the daughter through her bedroom window at night.
This is one of those films that looks like it might be a provincial yawnfest at first glance, but give it a chance and you'll find it really entertaining. Rowan Atkinson actually keeps the physical comedy to a minimum and you find yourself feeling sorry for the guy, although not so sorry that you don't squirm a bit at his sex scene. Yes, you heard me, there's a Rowan Atkinson sex scene, and I'm still working out how I feel about that.
This is one of Patrick Swayze's last few film roles, and he plays the whole "American asshole" character to a tee. Maggie Smith is hilarious... she was murdering people left and right, but it was with a doe-eyed innocence that really sold the psychosis. One of the best quotes of the movie:
"You can't just go 'round killing people just because you don't approve of them!"The whole mess resolves, of course, and it's one of the most weirdly depressing happy endings I've ever seen. This is definitely worth a rental... none too mentally taxing, but amusing and sweet in its own little fucked-up way.
"You know, that's what my doctors used to say. It was the one point we could never agree on."
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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