Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clever 'Outside Providence' Learns to See through Haze

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clever 'Outside Providence' Learns to See through Haze

Article excerpt

Yes, the Farrelly brothers, the wonderfully twisted siblings behind the blissfully wacky There's Something About Mary, have their hands all over Outside Providence.

They helped finance the movie and helped write the screenplay, which is based on Peter Farrelly's first novel.

So yes, the protagonist has a three-legged dog with an eye-patch. And yes, there's a little episode or two involving bodily fluids.

But the film, which opens today, bears little resemblance to Mary or to the similarly raunchy and absurd goings-on from the Farrellys' earlier comedies, Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin.

It's still good, though. In fact, it's really good, a wistful, modest coming-of-age story, set in the '70s, about a blue-collar Rhode Island slacker transplanted to a tony Connecticut prep school.

It's directed and co-written by Michael Corrente, who's made a couple of gritty movies called Federal Hill and American Buffalo. He has a good feel for the world of Outside Providence and for the teenage boys who people it. They sit around dumpy Pawtucket, R.I., usually in an altered state: It's 1974, and pot is everywhere they turn. They turn to it everyday, dreaming dreams of moving to California, where the cars don't rust, if you can conceive of such a thing. Stuck in Pawtucket, they find it hard to believe. The movie focuses on Tim Dunphy, played with utter naturalism by Shawn Hatosy, last seen in The Faculty. He's just one of the guys, that is until the fateful night where, unable to see through a haze of pot smoke, he crashes his car into the back of a parked cop car.

That's too much for his old man, Old Man Dunphy, who packs him off to Cornwall Academy. Old Man Dunphy is played to perfection by Alec Baldwin, who clearly relishes this change of pace: He's a blue-collar tough guy who spends most of his time with his poker buddies, idlyl speculating on which movie stars are "gays. …

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